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Dear Chump Lady, Is pain a choice?

Dear Chump Lady

As I try to heal in the most graceful way (suppressing my revenge fantasies) this is what I am struggling with…

Like many of you, I buy self-help books, read blogs, watch videos. One of the major shifts for me has been on a spiritual level (not religious – more like healing circles, meditation, reiki etc.) and it’s been really helpful. However, I found that the message that keeps coming up is about the ego.

“If you’re suffering, that’s your ego — you’re not really hurt” or “You’re creating your own pain, no one can actually hurt you unless you allow them to.” Or “If you truly love someone unconditionally, they don’t need to love you back.” Somehow, these concepts have made me question the validity of my feelings. Are they not warranted or allowed? I feel guilty that I feel sad, hurt and angry. Am I only doing it to myself? So wait, HE didn’t cause my pain — it’s my ego? What the hell?

Can you offer any insight into the belief that we create our own pain regardless of the actions of others? I’m really struggling with this one.

Gia

Dear Gia,

Ooh, that’s some tricky blameshifting there. Don’t blame the cheater — blame your own ego!

This is another It’s Not What I Did, It’s Your Reaction to It nugget of mindfuckery. I may have inflicted pain, but you are responsible for feeling it.

Bullshit. Psychological pain is real pain.

Did you know that recent neuroscience shows that social pain (rejection, exclusion, romantic break ups) activates the same regions of the brain as physical pain? If someone cheats and betrays you — it hurts like a motherfucker. Chumps all know this. And guess what? Your body knows it too. It feels PAIN because it is PAIN.

If you got mugged, and your attacker pistol whipped you, no thinking person would say “That pain you’re feeling is a choice. Are you feeling concussed? Well, you should choose not to feel that way. Change your thought patterns and let’s skip the trip to the ER.”

No. You’ve been attacked and injured and it HURTS.

Now then, how you recover from that assault is a matter of personal resiliency, and I think this is the point on which the New Agey crap gets confused. Pain is not a decision. Pain and suffering are facts of life. Injustice is a fact of life. How you get through those experiences are a matter of character and tenacity.

To say that we choose pain is to say we’re complicit in creating that pain. That is bullshit. That denies basic human frailty and vulnerability. It’s hubris to think we alone control all of life’s unpleasantries and if we just led our lives correctly we could avoid muggers in dark corners who want to assault us and steal our wallets. We do our best to protect ourselves and use common sense, but no one is immune from Bad People.

Remember, you only control YOURSELF, you don’t control other people. Superstition (ahem, some New Age shit) likes to sell the notion that you can control outcomes through witchcraft and ritual. For example, if I rub the magic unicorn horn seven times and never step on a sidewalk crack, I will never be mugged. Or if my chakras are aligned properly and I eat enough kale and forswear gluten, I will avoid cancer.

Now, when a bad person attacks you, you can respond a number of ways. This is where personal choice comes in (you’re controlling YOU). You can blame yourself. (I only rubbed the unicorn horn six times. Damn.) You can become agoraphophic and never leave the house for fear of muggers. Or you can say “Fuck YOU mugger! I will not let you rob anymore of my life or my sense of personal safety!”

If you take the Fuck You Mugger option, you have to face and wrestle with your fears, and live your life in spite of the pain. You don’t let the pain control you. You acknowledge the pain, but you don’t let it rule you. There is a life out there and it’s not all muggers. You intend to enjoy it. And maybe you’ll take a couple self defense classes and learn how to kick people in the solar plexus for good measure.

So that’s the answer to the bullshit of “pain is a choice.” No, pain is not a choice. How you respond to pain is a choice. Pain is fucking REAL. To deny its existence is to deny the injustice that created it. And to minimize the bravery that it takes to live your life in spite of pain.

Now to the unconditional love garbage. “If you truly love someone unconditionally, they don’t need to love you back.”

This is a moronic notion of love when applied to people. However, you can unconditionally love inanimate objects. I love cookies. They do not love me back. (Clearly, you should see my thighs.) You can love the Red Sox unconditionally. Doesn’t matter how many times they flub it, your love is unswerving. The Red Sox do not win pennants depending on your love. They are oblivious to it. But you can enjoy the glory of being part of Red Sox nation with all the other people engaging in this one-sided love affair.

When you love a narcissist, you are signing up for this inanimate object love. You can love this thing who doesn’t love you back. You can be one of a legion of adoring fans engaged in the one-sided love affair with the Great One. But most people do not find life as a satellite a satisfying, healthy sort of love.

Grown up love IS conditional love. Grown up love is reciprocal. Grown-up loves says if you abuse me, you’re out. Grown up love values itself and demonstrates its worth through conditions. Like fidelity and honesty. Narcissist love says “I’m okay with a lopsided investment. You love me and I’ll let you be in my orbit, deal?”

Healthy people NEED someone to love them back. Healthy people do not love into the void.

You want to “choose pain”? Love a narcissist. Tell your New Age gurus to put that in their hookahs and smoke it.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I also took up meditation and tara brach and touched upon Buddhist psychology. I felt i was able to see the distinction – as CL has decribed – there is grieving – the first arrow of pain and you can’t avoid that. So sit in meditation, observe it, accept that life is a mixture of all the emotions, comfortable and uncomfortable. Then there is the 2nd arrow you shoot yourself – the arrow that makes the pain and grief wrong. Where you fight it and interpret your experience in personally negative terms – (I am bad / what did I do to deserve this? etc) . As CL writes: the choice is how you respond to the pain.
    Also I agree that love is conditional because BOUNDARIES
    Meditation was my saving grace and kept me off pharmaceuticals. Thanks be to the universe!

    • I agree with this. I also think that being angry is higher up the emotional guidance scale than the inertia chump state that CL talks about. You should be angry. The best revenge is to actually benefit yourself. Channel the anger into mighty self empowerment. Its a big f*** you.

      • Absolutely, anger is part of the healing process. However, do not be angry at yourself, place the anger and negative feelings towards the cheater and then determine to show him. Thus the anger will propel you to a better life for yourself.

    • I think Tara Brach has the balance right.

      I do think there are some beliefs that can cause more pain, and letting go of those beliefs helps you. CL is great at challenging chump beliefs that keep chumps stuck. So some of the pain can pass because of that.

  • I really needed to read this today. I have a great friend who is a life coach. Most of the stuff is fantastic, but the one thing I call bullshit on is “it’s all perception, nothing is actually happening to you”. Yes it is. He cheated, lied and stole. He is dragging out the settlement. How I deal with it is under my control, but denying it happened and how much it hurt is unacceptable.

    • I have always been told that pain is the signal from the body that something is wrong and you should stop what is causing the pain and treat the pain. I would think this applies to emotional pain as well. It is not something one creates but a signal to let you know you need to change what you are doing and then the pain will go away as you treat it and heal.

    • Yeah, this whole “perception” issue is my essential problem with the concept of forgiveness, too. When words are redefined, it feels like gaslighting all over again.

    • ““it’s all perception, nothing is actually happening to you”. Yes it is. He cheated, lied and stole. He is dragging out the settlement.”

      Have you asked your friend how they would feel if they had discovered their beloved had cheated, lied and stolen? Has anyone in their family been the victim of a car accident, assault, robbery, or a scam?

      • I hate all that “perception is reality” crap. No, reality is reality. My ex didn’t just SEEM to fuck hookers because of my “perception” of the evidence. He actually hired and fucked hookers. He actually dissipated our marital assets fucking hookers while I struggled to raise our children and pay bills. He actually, in the real world with real life and death consequences, knowingly risked passing on lethal diseases to me. Perception my ass. His sins and crimes are REAL and so is my reaction to them.

        • Bravo!
          My husband tried to tell me how “ all people love him and how I’m the only one saying such a negative things about him”
          1. How many people know about cheating, lies, hookers, hookups, dating profiles, exposing wife/ kids to HIV? NONE
          So fuck them and their praises. They would turn around and run away – after getting all the gross details.
          They love me, on the other hand, and what they is is WHO I am.

          2. I’m not saying negative things about him.
          I’m just LISTING NEGATIVE ACTIONS he kept repeating year by year. Who’s issue is that,?
          Fix the ACTIONS idiot and there will be nothing to talk about.

          As far as perception/pain…. I probably wouldn’t find a single person here, who never suffered a PHYSICAL symptoms after years of being mind fucked by our beloved partners. Not a single person.
          There is a book called “Body remembers”( or something similar) it explains correlation between our emotions/ psychological state and physical reactions to certain traumatic events(minus new-age crap)
          Ugh… perception🤮 I saw him as a man with integrity but he was a hooker hiring, mind fucking his wife person.

          • The name of the book is The Body Keeps the Score. Excellent book on trauma that I wish more people were aware of. It literally changed my life, and saved my life from suicidal ideation after I was the victim of a brutal attempted murder. Equally as good as Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft, which is free online.

    • Never deny what has happened to you. The consequences of their shitty reach far and wide. No – I will not sweep that stuff under the rug to deal with it later!!!

      I have first hand knowledge of what it is like to NOT react to pain.

      My Mom died 15 years ago of cancer. At the time my Dad has cancer and dementia ( leading shortly to Alzheimer’s ). I was expecting and so was my Sister. Best friend had made me a bride’s maid in her over the top second marriage…
      My world was upside down and XH was acting like a difficult teenager.

      I did not grieve the loss of my poor Mother. I tried to keep up appearances and get through all the crazy. I stuffed that down for another few years while X had his mid life crisis ( haha ) and went back to school – quitting a high paying job.

      When BD hit and I got the speech – guess what?
      The death of my Mother hit me like a ton of bricks. I not only suffered the loss of my intact family but I deeply mourned the loss of my Mom.

      Pain must be felt and acknowledged in order to move forward. I suspect anyone who feels otherwise might be a bit disordered themselves.

  • My D day way nearly 2 years ago and I worry people are tired of hearing of my struggles. I’m still up and down and about to do a financial separation. I feel everyone has moved on and I’m still very much in the grief of it all. I want to be rid of the pain but it’s ongoing I’m sick of it and sick of myself.

    • Not everyone heals at the same speed. But do make sure you are taking care of yourself and filling your time with things that improve your physical health and things that bring you joy.

    • You can’t get past it until you bite the bullet and do the hard thing. I was pick me dancing for a year- telling my woes to my confidants, and then once I filed and went no contact, life was looking up. Still hard, but now I was moving on instead of thinking about it.

    • Two years out here too, and my God do I know what you mean.

      At this point it’s almost worse because you suffer in silence. I know my loved ones are tired of hearing it so I say nothing and bottle it up and tramp down my feelings.

      Objectively and logically I absolutely get WHY I shouldn’t feel an ounce of anything for the sonovabitch….emotionally I can’t help how I feel. It’s like snapping your arm and trying to will it not to hurt.

      • You are not being heard.

        Stop stuffing it down, and instead find someone who RECEIVES what you are saying, and HEARS it, and can reflect it back to you.

        Hint: you probably need to pay this person, eg a therapist, counsllor, psychologist.

        Being really heard – being believed – sounds so facile, but it’s actually elusive. And it will make a huge difference to your pain load.

    • Chumpeddownunder, sendingvhuge hugs and strength. For me (DDay 12/27/14, GTFO day 5/20/15, freedom (divorce day) 1/27/17) meh did not come until after Freedom day. That’s what a lot of us experienced here— as long as you are in the day-to-Day questioning what to do phase, the deeper healing is delayed. Do you have a kickass lawyer? Have you talked to a forensic accountant through the lawyer? A CPA? A financial planner? Those conversations will give you the information that may help make immediate decisions to divorce and separate all legal bonds. The emotional bonds will loosen and float away afterwards.

    • Me too. 2 years next week on my daughters birthday. Still hurts like a mother fucker. He’s suing me for custody right after his wife appliance had me charged with assault. It’s a shitstorm right now. Moving past it all will be easier once this is wrapped up.

    • Worrying about friends being sick of hearing about your story is realistic. They often do get sick of it! But that doesn’t change your need to talk about it. Talking about it and processing it is key to healing. And by processing, I mean you slowly slowly change the narrative until is subtly switches to you and your new life – you actually get bored with rehashing everything he/she did. But you can only get bored with your story if you tell it! If you can find a therapist or a group meet up or even a friend who is particularly empathetic (you can ask to vent/process with them for 20 min and turn on your phone timer).
      I hate to think of my fellow chumps bottling up their anger. Journaling is good. I also speak to an empty chair on occasion. It helps!

    • Also out 1.5 yrs and few the same way. I’m tired of talking about it yet I can spend a weekend in agony after I have to see fuckwit. It is getting better and I recover more quickly but it still shows up and sends me reeling. I find if I go immediately do something I like, I geeked more empowered. I saw RBG this past weekend-went by myself. Awesome and Inspiring. Hugs to us. We get it and it is good to communicate on this site!

    • I think we err in seeing any kind of growth or recovery as a straight-line trajectory angling toward some sort of finish line. Our real trajectory is a roller-coaster line some days, a deep plunge others, a bit of a climb one week, and a very tedious static line on others.

      On the days you are sick of hearing yourself talk (out loud or internally mulling), that is a signal that you are probably ready–at least for an hour–to put the divorce and betrayal and legal issues aside. Tell yourself you are taking a break to listen to the radio while you drive, bring up another topic with a friend, or do something you enjoy. You can even interrupt yourself when ranting to a friend and say, “You know? I’m sick of this right now. You probably are too. Help me talk about other things today, and probably I’ll need to talk about my woes later, but I don’t want to right now.”

      I think at the worst points, we are so snarled in our pain we can’t be sick of it because we cannot see far enough ahead to imagine being free of it. But eventually, we can. And being sick of our own topics of conversation and pain is a step forward in and of itself.

      I fear at 2 years out I talked about my EX to certain friends a solid 75% of the time. At 7 years out, I bet it is less than 3%. There are people who routinely ask me about how I’m doing now in relation to the EX–either because they are genuinely interested in making sure I still get support I might need or because I inadvertently “trained” them to see the EX as someone so central to my life that he should be acknowledged, I guess. It is such a pleasure to say, “There’s nothing new on that front. The kids are managing their own relationships with him now.” And then we move on to interesting topics.

      If you are still wrangling financial stuff, it is not a surprise that you are still in pain and still needing to talk about your situation a lot, even if a couple years have past. It can’t hurt to thank your friends, but don’t be hard on yourself–it is a very tough and long road you are on.

      • I don’t feel so bad now about my 3.5 years. But I’m healing. I’m happy to hear “nothing new on that front”. I have hope. Thanks!

      • It’s been 7 years for me and I’m just now getting to where what happened isn’t constantly on my mind. Most of the time I’m pretty happy. We were together 36 years, and it’s still hard for me to believe the person who was central to my life for that long is no longer a part of it, but he’s still a part of my kids’ lives. That’s still surreal. Anyway, just wanted to let you all know that it can take longer than 2-3 years so don’t beat yourself up or think you’re doing something wrong.

        In my mind, it’s more like when you lose a loved one. You never really get over the loss, you just learn to live with it and it stops hurting so much. That doesn’t mean to say that you aren’t still triggered sometimes, though.

        Just a couple of months ago I saw my ex at a family event and I can honestly say I didn’t feel anything. That was the day I realized I’d finally reached “meh.”

        • “Anyway, just wanted to let you all know that it can take longer than 2-3 years so don’t beat yourself up or think you’re doing something wrong.”

          I sincerely appreciate you posting this. I’m 6 mos out from DDay #1 and 3 mos out from DDay #2 and feel ashamed that I’m not further along. It’s good to read that I’m not abnormal in feeling it’s going to take a long time to get over this. Thank you.

    • Hi CDU. I am with you, just so you know you aren’t alone. DDay was almost 2 years ago for me, too. I told him I would give “us” two years; the first for him to essentially grow up and grow a pair, the second for me to see if I could, somehow, get past it.

      I, at least, keep my promises. Still, there have been moments when I just want out, and it has been the hardest thing I have ever done/endured. I know many on here would call me an idiot for staying, a chump among chumps. But I made the promise before I found this site.

      I wish I had a crystal ball, I wish I could absolutely believe him when he says he will never do that again. But I can’t. Not now, I doubt if ever. And…..do I really want to live like that?

      • Hi ILC, I’m almost 2.5 years out from D-day. I took a similar approach to you. I decided on D-Day +1 that I would give it a year and behave with as much dignity as I could muster. I think I kept my side of the bargain (although i did have some moments of indignity to be sure!!). He was withdrawing some large chunks of cash at one point and could never explain where the money went. That, along with the affair made it impossible for me to feel ok about staying, but I did stay for the sake of the kids. I just couldn’t pull the plug. In the end, he could see that things would never improve, so he decided to leave. I was grateful that he was the one who made that decision because I couldn’t bring myself to break up the family. Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that if you don’t trust him now, that’s unlikely to change in future. What do you need him to do or say in order to rebuild your trust? And if there’s nothing he can do, as you say, can you live like that?
        It really is better on the other side! Tough, an emotional rollercoaster, but always better than being the marriage police and wondering if there is something underhand going on behind your back.
        Sending hugs…

        • My first D- Day was when we were going out, in our early 20’s. My second D-Day was 30 years later. I wish I could erase time and start over without him. I never completely trusted him, but always thought I was being an idiot when my suspicions arose. And maybe there was no infidelity in between.
          I may never know. But I am certainly examining a lot of his past behaviours and wondering.

  • My D-Day was 1/20/18. I moved out two weeks ago after enduring the knowledge that Asshat not only destroyed our marriage, but the marriage of his so-called ‘best friend’ (his AP was bestie’s wife). When that AP got too difficult for him to manage, he’s moved on to a 27-year old barmaid (he’s 56). All within 8 months. But, I am the one with the problem? Oh hell to the no. Of course I am in pain. He’s “sorry I am so sad”. And fuming because I have gone No Contact- he claims it’s “immature”. He can fuck right off. But I know I will never receive a sincere apology or anything close. But I honestly don’t need one.

    I also have come to realize this: the hardest thing for a caring person (i.e. Chump) to understand is that dealing with a person who doesn’t honestly ‘feel’ love or *any* emotion the way that you do, cannot comprehend when they have caused hurt and properly apologize for it. I am getting there. The best cure isn’t forgiveness, but pity. I pity those who can’t love or empathize properly now. It softens the anger quite a bit.

    I pity the fool now known as Asshat. And my walls are starting to sing.

    • I do pity (or feel sorry for ) the X. He had a good wife who loved him despite his flaws. I loved truly him, and was still in love with him, and he doesn’t have the emotions to appreciate me or my love Hell, I don’t think he even has the ability to truly love his children. He will never truly know what good love feels like, and for that I feel for him. But not if enough to stick around for cake or pick me dancing. It’s all NC from here.

    • It’s amazing that they can lie, cheat, betray everyone in their lives, wreck families and still the very worst thing is our choice to be no contact.

  • Chumps feel lasting pain because they loved for real. We legit thought we were entering into a mutual agreement. The pain doesn’t come from ego- it comes from loss, real loss, gut wrenching, heart breaking (now scientifically noted can be an actual real physical thing) loss.

    Moving out of the pain is possible through leaving the cheater and building a new healthy life. Everyone is at different speeds and dealing with different levels of mindfuckery from the cheater. The forums are filled with people dragged through shitstorm after shitstorm. They are not holding on to pain because of ego. The pain is an affliction caused by a cheater that operates from ego.

    • I guess the ego argument also applies when someone we love dies. So your parent/friend/spouse/child died? Why are you choosing to feel that pain? Losing a spouse to infidelity is similar but people who haven’t experienced that don’ t really get it.

  • I learned that pain is pain.

    Simple but true.

    There are different reasons why we experience pain, one is not better or harder than another. You can count your blessings, stop and smell the roses or _____ (fill in the blank with how you cope) but the pain is real.

    Time helps. Surviving pain takes patience. Pain doesn’t care about your timetable.

    I’m far out from the tornado of DDay, lawyers and divorce BUT the pain is still in the process of dissipating. Not sure if what is left is the residual pain or anger but I’m also not sure the label matters.

    For anyone still in the tornado and desperately looking for the pearly gates of Meh, relax. Just keep slogging through and work on gaining that life worth living. Acknowledge the pain, become friends with your emotions. Peace will come but only when you’re not looking – hence the Tuesday!

  • I think the key here is allowing yourself a reasonable time to grieve. The mugger analogy is perfect. You are very hurt and it is scary too. People need time to heal physically and emotionally– but then after a certain point and what that point is – is different for everyone_ after that point, maybe pain is a choice. If we are talking about a year or more of reliving the hurts in your mind to the point where you can hardly find moments of joy in the present, maybe that is a choice.
    We get one life, and for me personally I did not want to stay in that place of pain. I felt that my cheater had stolen enough years from me already – – 30 of them–and I really wanted to be done and enjoy the years I had left. This was after was maybe 8 months for me of going through that pain all the way. Plus the previous years of unhappiness.
    I found the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle to be extremely helpful in shutting down the pain when i was ready to leave it behind. Maybe this is new agey, but it helped me move on.
    Fully greive, but then as Chump Lady says, gain a life!. If new age helps you move on from being stuck or cycling on the hurts, more power to it. Find something that helps you from staying stuck in the hurt at the expense of enjoying your present life.

    • Unknown Comic
      I too read the Power of Now but truthfully I had a difficult time understanding it. My pain was so severe after 34 years that I felt there wasn’t anything I could do but sit in it & wait for it to pass.

      It’s 2 years divorced but not at meh. Hopefully someday I will get there but still not sure when.

      Hugs 🤗

      • Kathleen, sending you love and support. I’m 18 months from divorce (25 year marriage) DDay 1/27/14. I’m completely NC even though we have 4 kids (one still a minor but I have full custody). I’m not completely at meh but have a lot of moments where I feel more normal. I recently started trauma therapy as well as figured out that I’m totally burned out at my job, so trying to deal with those issues.

        You are perfect just how you are on your healing timeline IMHO.

        😘😘😘😘😘❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

        • MotherChumper99
          I’m so sorry you are going through this terrible
          ordeal too. I’ve seen 2 therapists but I realize I
          have to take their behavioral therapy advice now.
          I stopped seeing them because I found myself talking & reliving the horrific days over & over.
          So I’m now trying to handle the stress alone. Some days are better than others.

          The Owhore that he left me for passed away months ago but he quickly moved into another
          woman’s home. I wish I would’ve known that
          he never really loved me all those years earlier,
          But I am strong & I will not allow him to destroy my life any longer. You sound like a strong &
          courageous woman too! Please take care of yourself & your beautiful children. ❤️

          I know now that ..Monsters walk among us.

  • Thich Nhat Hahn….Vietnamese Buddhist monk on anger….Google. Embracing and acknowledging those feelings. I have been a spiritual student for 33 years and I am still a human being and will never be Jesus. I am alarmed at the feelings and thoughts that the stratospheric level of pain of infidelity has given birth to. And I want nothing more than to not feel all of this. I am walking into those feelings rather than running away. Being assaulted hurts like a mofo, physically OR emotionally. Having an explanation WHY something hurts, physically or emotionally, does nothing to alleviate it. I don’t care why it hurts…I want to know what kind of first aid I need. Crying is the main thing I need. Talking is what I need. Taking a foam bat to a pile of folded towels is what I need. Screaming whatever comes out of me into a pillow inside my car in the middle of the night is what I need. I don’t trust people whose feelings are cross-wired
    (the cheaters)……

    • Emotional First Aid…Guy Winch
      First Aid for Tough Times….Charlotte Kasl
      (From her book “Finding Joy”)
      Safe Coping Skills poster….on my wall…
      PTSD work of Lisa Najavits
      (www.seekingsafety.org)
      Infidelity is a major traumatic injury which requires time and first aid to heal!
      I wish we had hospitals for those invisible emotional/psychological injuries. This blog is a virtual hospital….thank you Chump Lady!!!

  • It’s just on 8yrs since DDay. 20/8 to be exact.

    From time to time the pain is ever so real and no amount of new age help will cure my ache.

    Reiki, crystals, candles, chakras etc just help to ease the pain. Judgement never helps. It just denies my reality.

    Somehow though, with self acceptance of my truth and after a few tears 😭 I gain the courage to begin a new day. Each day, each month I feel able to accept reality and the pain no longer debilitates.

    People have all sorts of magical cures, some more helpful than others but there is no potion that suits all. Rest, go within and allow time to heal. Accepting that set backs are normal.

    Massage, reiki, acupuncture, yoga…. you name it, it’s place is to tend the soul not to judge it. 💚 Namaste 🙏

  • Emotional Pain is Real Pain, and studies show that suppressing grief causes it to seep out and attack far longEmotional Pain is Real Pain, and studies show that suppressing grief causes it to seep out and attack far longer than most peripheral friends and neighbors find tasteful.

    I tell and retell this to new chumps, so my apologies if you have heard some reiteration before. My D-Day was a Thursday. The Saturday after left me with no children or chores to distract me from the floor dropping agony of my entire world burning. I remember being paralyzed in bed. I hadn’t yet kicked Cold Slab O’Meat out of the bed. That would be in two days. Or completely out of the room and moved every single belonging to a guest room and bath. That was a week later. Or completely out of my house. That was 17 days after D day. I action d on my chumpdom quickly. But the pain was real.

    Lying paralyzed in bed for an entire weekend was the most encompassing and intense physical and emotional pain I have felt in my entire life. I have survived having a hole in my intestine, two drug free childbirths and MRSA pneumonia. I lost one of my children in a slow dance with mental illness. I could talk monotonously about the difference between my son’s suffering and being betrayed. I knew my son had bipolar disorder. He had cycled through crises many times before he lost his fight.

    But for pure, intense, WTF blindsiding who am I even married to, sudden and complete abandonment, discovery of a secret life, switch flipping from worship to abject heartbreak and then vomitous disgust, digging dancing and letting go, a complete upending of every foundation of shared family life, no pain I have ever felt compared with to that two days. I literally could not eat. It took months to sleep more than an hour at a time. I remember lying on the bed and literally hallucinating that the bed was a raft undulating on some kind of foul liquid. Every cell of my body was screaming for release.

    To Cold Slab O’Meat, I was a lazy drama queen slumped in a bed. Sobbing uncontrollably on the hour for weeks, yet still functioning. He was literally coming to me asking for advice on how to enroll his daughter in OW’s school district, would I be a dear and scan this apartment app, how should he best explain our breakup to people?

    He wanted me to joyfully participate in the destruction of our family. Prior to this blindside, and a period of a month after meeting OW, we had never had an argument really.

    Emotional pain is real pain. It killed my son. You can manage emotional pain, sure. Some pain that intense is normal, some is PTSD, some is full on brain chemistry based mental illness. It’s not a question of willpower. Coping skills are helpful. Choosing to live is helpful. But suffering is real.

    One of my favorite singers Nice Cave and his wife Susie lost their teen son in a tragic accident right around the same time my boy died. Rather than give endless interviews about it they chose to release a documentary and give limited statements regarding it. This was a way to meter out their own suffering I think, and one of the things he said always stuck with me.

    ‘After a certain point, we decided to be happy.

    ‘er than most peripheral friends and neighbors find tasteful.

    I tell and retell this to new chumps, so my apologies if you have heard some reiteration before. My D-Day was a Thursday. The Saturday after left me with no children or chores to distract me from the floor dropping agony of my entire world burning. I remember being paralyzed in bed. I hadn’t yet kicked Cold Slab O’Meat out of the bed. That would be in two days. Or completely out of the room and moved every single belonging to a guest room and bath. That was a week later. Or completely out of my house. That was 17 days after D day.

    Lying paralyzed in bed for an entire weekend was the most encompassing and intense physical and emotional pain I have felt in my entire life. I have survived having a hole in an intestine, two drug free childbirths and MRSA pneumonia. I lost one of my children in a slow dance with mental illness. I could talk monotonously about the difference between my son’s suffering and being betrayed. I knew my son had bipolar disorder. He had cycled through crises many times before he lost his fight.

    But for pure, intense, WTF blindsiding who am I even married to, sudden and complete abandonment, discovery of a secret life, switch flipping from worship to abject heartbreak and then vomitous disgust, digging daneing and letting go, a complete upending of every foundation of shared family life, no pain I have ever felt compared with to that two days. I literally could not eat. It took months to sleep more than an hour at a time.
    I remember lying on the bed and literally hallucinating that the bed was a raft undulating on some kind of foul liquid. Every cell of my body was screaming for release.

    To Cold Slab O’Meat, I was a lazy drama queen slumped in a bed. Sobbing uncontrollably on the hour for weeks, yet still functioning. He was literally coming to me asking for advice on how to enroll his daughter in OW’s school district, would I be a dear and scan this apartment app, how should he best explain our breakup to people?

    He wanted me to joyfully participate in the destruction of our family. Prior to this blindside, and a period of a month after meeting OW, we had never had an argument really.

    Emotional pain is real pain. It killed my son. You can manage emotional pain, sure. Some pain that intense is normal, some is PTSD, some is full on brain chemistry based mental illness. It’s not a question of willpower. Coping skills are helpful. Choosing to live is helpful. But suffering is real.

    One of my favorite singers Nice Cave and his wife Susie lost their teen son in a tragic accident right around the same time my boy died. Rather than give endless interviews about it they chose to release a documentary and give limited statements regarding it. This was a way to meter out their own suffering I think, and one of the things he said always stuck with me. After a certain point:

    “We decided to be happy and our happiness would be an act of revenge, of defiance,” he said.

    Your pain is real. It will last as long and be as equal as opposite a reaction to the love you lost. The meh comes when you feel real happiness in small moments. When you realize the spans between waves of pain get longer. When those waves of grief are an 8 and not a 10. And you haven’t racked a 10 in a while. And you make small choices to to pain shop by seeking out your abuser.

    People who bounce back without grief were simply not that invested. Don’t allow them to judge how you mourn the life of your marriage.

    • Wow. So well put. I find it next to impossible to adequately put words to the experience. That quote offers a great concept as well…happiness as a purposeful form of defiance and revenge against evil. Thank you.

    • I am so sorry for your son. My brother commited suicide 30 years ago. I think that life was just too emotion and hard for him to handle. Too many disappointments and he didn’t have the coping skills to look down the road. And now, my stepson was diagnosed with bipolar last Thanksgiving after a manic episode that was off the charts. I don’t think he has experienced any debilitating depression but it’s always a worry. He is a wonderful young man full of empathy and compassion and very unlike his father (thank God!!). He had his path laid out for him and it suddenly went very off-course. I worry about him and I hope that he continues to get the support he needs. It would pain me for anything to happen to him.

      Pain is real. Watching my parents grapple with their sudden loss, watching my mother lose her fight for life and being with her till her last breath, finding out that my husband, who I thought would never hurt me like he did, is capable of being cold, cruel and mean was devastating and still is. Grief is real. Time does help heal wounds but it doesn’t erase the scars. We carry those for life.

      Hugs to you Luziana.

      • Thank you too, MissBailey. And sorry for trying to cut and paste from a note on my phone, I Fubarred that.

        Your parents are extraordinarily strong, and their example no doubt helped you survive this. For a while for me the devastation of having a family of five carved down to two was too close, just a giant knot. Without the infidelity and discard, my son’s suicide would have been just as painful, but I often felt robbed of the promise the manwhore made in all his marriage vows. He should have been by my side during that time. The fact he wasn’t is all I need to know. That part made me get to meh faster. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m over the marriage and I’ll always carry grief and miss my son. That’s how it should be. It feels right. I do feel happiness, but I will never be the same. May you remember your brother likewise. It is not so much about me at this point. It’s that I could not stop HIS suffering, and he was a treasure lost to a wider circle than just me. I send you my hugs and my understanding. <3

    • Hi, he had the balls, to ask you, how to explain your break-up, your ex is a entitled piece of shit. Trying to enrol your child in ow school district, sounds like trying to put you in the p m dance, mode.

      • Susan, Oh yeah. Of course he did. Remember to a complete fucking unmasked sociopath, everyone is just a resource, a soft target, fulfilling a role. He really thought we would be friends and my daughter would want to meet the Sluterus and have sleepovers at their shitty fuckflat. They think that as long as they are happy, you live to serve them and they can redifine your role and demote you like a damn employee.

        I had just found Chumplady, and I told him, “You fired me from the job of caring what happens to you. Guess what you need is a lawyer.”

        My daughter was like, “He is out of his everloving mind.” His daughter was like, “I want to live with my Mom.”

        OW was like, “I’m pregnant.”

        This is what sociopaths do. And they think it’s fine.

    • That is a perfect description of how it feels. My ex wanted me to help him move on as well after the first d-day, looking back I cannot even fathom the crazy. The second D-day I was smarter, and it was way easier…though I didn’t lose the 20lbs I did the first time. The timeline is going to be different for everyone, but Tuesday will come.

  • lol ing on the cookie analogy! CL, those cookies love us so much that they want to stick with us forever but not in a good way. They are exactly like a fuckwit, they will never leave, they continue to torment!

  • Sorry for the repeat, here is a cleaned up version!

    Emotional Pain is Real Pain, and studies show that suppressing grief causes it to seep out and attack far longer than most peripheral friends and neighbors find tasteful.

    I tell and retell this to new chumps, so my apologies if you have heard some reiteration before. My D-Day was a Thursday. The Saturday after left me with no children or chores to distract me from the floor dropping agony of my entire world burning. I remember being paralyzed in bed. I hadn’t yet kicked Cold Slab O’Meat out of the bed. That would be in two days. Or completely out of the room and moved every single belonging to a guest room and bath. That was a week later. Or completely out of my house. That was 17 days after D day. I action d on my chumpdom quickly. But the pain was real.

    Lying paralyzed in bed for an entire weekend was the most encompassing and intense physical and emotional pain I have felt in my entire life. I have survived having a hole in my intestine, two drug free childbirths and MRSA pneumonia. I lost one of my children in a slow dance with mental illness. I could talk monotonously about the difference between my son’s suffering and being betrayed. I knew my son had bipolar disorder. He had cycled through crises many times before he lost his fight.

    But for pure, intense, WTF blindsiding who am I even married to, sudden and complete abandonment, discovery of a secret life, switch flipping from worship to abject heartbreak and then vomitous disgust, digging dancing and letting go, a complete upending of every foundation of shared family life, no pain I have ever felt compared with to that two days. I literally could not eat. It took months to sleep more than an hour at a time. I remember lying on the bed and literally hallucinating that the bed was a raft undulating on some kind of foul liquid. Every cell of my body was screaming for release.

    To Cold Slab O’Meat, I was a lazy drama queen slumped in a bed. Sobbing uncontrollably on the hour for weeks, yet still functioning. He was literally coming to me asking for advice on how to enroll his daughter in OW’s school district, would I be a dear and scan this apartment app, how should he best explain our breakup to people?

    He wanted me to joyfully participate in the destruction of our family. Prior to this blindside, and a period of a month after meeting OW, we had never had an argument really.

    Emotional pain is real pain. It killed my son. You can manage emotional pain, sure. Some pain that intense is normal, some is PTSD, some is full on brain chemistry based mental illness. It’s not a question of willpower. Coping skills are helpful. Choosing to live is helpful. But suffering is real.

    One of my favorite singers Nick Cave and his wife Susie lost their teen son in a tragic accident right around the same time my boy died. Rather than give endless interviews about it they chose to release a documentary and give limited statements regarding it. This was a way to meter out their own suffering I think, and one of the things he said always stuck with me. After a certain point:

    “We decided to be happy and our happiness would be an act of revenge, of defiance,” he said.

    Your pain is real. It will last as long and be as equal as opposite a reaction to the love you lost. The meh comes when you feel real happiness in small moments. When you realize the spans between waves of pain get longer. When those waves of grief are an 8 and not a 10. And you haven’t racked a 10 in a while. And you make small choices to to pain shop by seeking out your abuser.

    People who bounce back without grief were simply not that invested. Don’t allow them to judge how you mourn the life of your marriage.

    • Your story breaks my heart Luziana! I can’t imagine the pain of loosing a child and I’m sure it’s something you’ll deal with the rest of your life. I pray you truly find some peace.
      I fear for my only son, as he exhibits some extreme behaviors and I find it hard not to blame myself, as it can be hard for me to hide my disgust with his dad. I have dealt with some mental health issues in my teens, and had a bad case of post-partum.
      I’m considering family counseling with his dad, (reason for joining CL,) thinking it will be good for our son to see us trying to communicate for his well being. We’ve been mostly minimal contact/grey rock. Yet I’m sure it will be all the blame shifting and invalidation it has been, in the past. Plus I’m sure my ex will use my vulnerabilities against me, that he discovers in therapy. The man is untrustworthy and it keeps us from coparenting efficiently to the point my son is affected by anxiety and inconsistency. I tell our kid not to talk to strangers, the ex tells him it’s rude to ignore strangers. Ugh. If I say something to ex-I’m micromanaging and don’t know what I’m talking about; so maybe ex hearing it from a 3rd party professional might validate my p.o.v.
      I don’t want my son to have to be medicated. I’ve personally worked hard to overcome certain neurosis so that I can live as a healthy example for my kiddo, without medication; and so far have been mostly successful, especially after I got that asshole out of my life. I’ve read many parenting books and have studied psychology. Kid chemistry is constantly changing and I believe that proper self care really goes a long way; yet I feel my son still needs professional help.
      Truly sorry for your loss. It’s amazing how you find inner strength to carry on.

      • I am so sorry you’re going through this! I would actually suggest separate sessions with child and each parent rather than all three separately. My daughter’s dad (CSOM is not her dad) was a cheater as well. When we went to grief counseling he was briefly able to use that forum as an Airing of Grievances with me until I was able to put a stop to it by calmly stating he was gaslighting and walking out of a session. He never showed up to another but my daughter pulled through and is doing great after a very trying period, because guess what?

        You have to take responsibility for things you have done wrong as a parent, but you do not have to re-expose yourself to your abuser for your child to be well. Therapy should be focused on the child’s well being, but teaming up with an unrepentant monster is not the price you have to pay.

      • I had a close friend who was bipolar; it ruined her life, and that of her husband and son. She finally sought professional help, and after about two years was able to get her brain chemistry adjusted to where she was pretty much normal. It made all the difference to her and her son, although her husband had divorced her years previously (self-defense, I think). Please don’t discount medical intervention.

        • I agree. My son was never able to find medication that he was willing to deal with the side effects. He really thought the highs were worth the lows. They weren’t.

    • Thank you for generously sharing your story with us Luz. I am sending you virtual hugs. There is nothing like the genuine love of a parent for a child and I felt the pain of your loss as I read your story. The one thing your son carried with him always, even as he struggled, was the knowledge and confidence of your complete love for him. Bless you and may you continue to find happiness and peace.

  • I’d love to see some of those New Age (and sometimes not so NewAge but allegedly legit psych approaches) run through the UBT.

    Well, that pain you got there from your colossal ego, the pain you *chose* because that giant ego of yours demanded that just because you were loving your Cheater, you actually expected love in return?!? How *conditional* of you!

    Alternatively, that ego of yours looks like it needs work. Nah ah, sure not looking healthy. You’re *allowing* your Cheater to hurt you because your sense of self is too weak. If you could just rise up and be as Magnificent as the Cheater, you wouldn’t be doing something as silly as creating your own pain and blaming it on someone else.

  • My heart goes out to everyone enduring this. I was told me ego is hurting yet the pain I feel is incredible. I feel totally broken. I was in hospital fighting for my life after a big surgery, he never visited then I found a bank statement fir jewellery he’d bought her yet I never even got a get well card. He never helped me when I got home. He denied the affair but then admitted it. I asked him if she was worth losing his wife, children and grandchildren for and he said yes. He then totally abandoned me in a big house Ill and alone. He changed the utility bills into my name within two days, he emptied both bank accounts and took thousands of my own personal money. Since then he’s messed with my head a few times saying he loves me but that might not be enough, he couldn’t cope with my illness and financial problems due to be not being able to work anymore. Then he said I may come home I’m not sure yet?!! He moved in with her which hurt so much, like for the last 27 years I’ve not existed. I found out there’s no money in the house either. He said there is no way he will pay spouse maintenance or give up any pension as he will say he can’t afford it or hasn’t got any pensions. He constantly lies, he’s cohabiting but told his solicitor he’s at his parents. Then he took the house off the market without telling me said he was going to move back in as he needed time and space to think, by then I’d moved out to rented and on disability now but thank god I’m near my children. I immediately put the house back on the market as its vital its sold due to debts. I don’t get why he wanted to move back in, why he tells me he still loves me but is still living with her, he said she listened, he doesn’t know if he loves her. Everyone tells me to go by his actions not his words. Its like he’s another person, he was so caring now he’s a cold unfeeling monster, his solicitor keeps sending bullying letters full of lies, thankfully I can disprove it all but it hurts. In surgery my stomach was removed so im fed via a nasal feeding tube but his solicitor says I should get a job and earn my own money rather than expect any from him yet he works fill time. They wanted my car which I paid for in full by myself, its my only independence. The trollop he’s with is going through a divorce with three teenagers at home. The frightening things for me are that I know the things he’s done yet I still love him and miss him, I don’t want too, it scares me daily that those feelings won’t go away, I’m even jealous of her much to my shame and don’t know why. Also I keep having obsessive thoughts and images of them together, in my imagination they are happy, loved up and laughing at me. Yet here I am at 57 living alone for the first time, crying everyday. I feel its my fault for getting ill, that’s what he said too. The pain is real, I don’t feel its my ego, its heartbreak. Any help or advice would be so welcome as I need to get strong bit physically and emotionally. He said we don’t need to go to court but I do as I won’t get a penny otherwise for my future. Love to you all xx

    • Carol BIG <<<<<<>>>>>>>>

      What fucking bastard. You are 57 and your life starts NOW. Lawyer up, surround yourself with good, honest people and Get a Life.

      And those movies running in your head of loved up and laughing?? Pop one of those three teenagers into them. Smelly socks, slamming doors, being sullen, being rude, needing lifts, can I have some money, taking up the lounge room with PlayStation etc etc

      • Thankyou so much MamaMeh, I appreciate your kindness. I have a lawyer and financial disclosure us just about to happen as he wasn’t forthcoming with his, I’m just worried of running out of money before it gets to court. Yes he won’t be happy with teenagers, he used to moan about ours and the grandchildren being noisy and untidy. I just find being rejected for someone like her so hard to bear, I wish I was braver and stronger like others here. I used to be stronger but feel dragged down. I’m so grateful for your help xx

        • It’s not that you are not brave just because you feel dragged down by it all. I don’t think being able to ‘cope’ is a sign of being brave. Sometimes life throws things at you that are really difficult to cope at difficult times and it seems insurmountable. Don’t feel bad about that, that is acknowledging the hurt and pain which you need to do. When I have days when I really don’t feel I have the fight in me (and I have many of those days where I feel like walking to the other side of the world and leave him and my daughter) I talk to my friends or I cry. I can’t deny them. Truth is I would never let that happen cause I am as stubborn as a mule (heh heh) but I often feel like giving up. But I won’t, quite, and it will get better. Then I will have been truly brave. You will be too x

          • Thankyou for your kind words, I cry everyday and I think I’m not brave but weak for doing so but I feel so broken by the two of them. Everyone here has been on this journey and seem to show such courage when dealing with it.

            I try to tell myself that this pain won’t last forever, I can’t wait for the time when I no longer think of them, where they are or what they are doing as at the moment they are living rent free in my head and I want to evict them. Take care xx

            • Those that are out and away from the abuse for many years ‘seem to show such courage when dealing with it.’ I assure you, when I was going through it, I was a complete and total mess. I couldn’t sleep or eat. I could only cry and I felt like everyone was sick of hearing me. I heard, “Get over it” over and over again. And all it did was make me say to myself, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get over it?” Well, I was married to the dick for 30 years meeting him when I was 22, marrying him when I was 24. THAT’S ALL I KNEW! I didn’t know anything different. I’ve been divorced 3.5 years now and no contact. I still have my moments, but I’m finding myself happier and happier these days. Please don’t be hard on yourself for still being broken. Be kind to yourself. It takes time. Lots of time.

              • Many thanks for your kind words, this is exactly how I am, like you were, I have well intentioned friends saying its been nearly five months, just forget him and her and move on, put them out of your mind. Then they say why do you still feel for someone like that, you should hate him, like they think I could turn it off like a light switch. I’m scared enough that I still have feelings for him so that scares me more, then I get the let go speech but when I ask how to do that they can’t answer. Like you hun, he’s all I’ve known I thought we’d grow old together. I’m glad you’re feeling better now but sorry you still have some difficult days, you don’t deserve it xx

            • Carol what you are feeling is totally natural. We all feel the same, were we not good enough, I loved/love this person, my whole life has been turned upside down. I don’t know how I’ll cope. This is a huge huge trauma and don’t underestimate it. Unless someone has been through it they can’t say and everyone says move on and forget it in a kind way because they care about you and don’t want you to waste your time on the fucker. If it were that easy. Nothing you are feeling or doing is not completely understandable in the circumstances, this is the hugest and most hurtful betrayal.

              I also know that just cause he is gone this is just the beginning – I have to deal with the OW beeng introduced to my daughter, her upset, future battles over custody, having to share my daughter across the years. It’s life changing – get as much support as you can and as Winston Churchill said, ‘When you are going through hell – keep going’ x

              • You are so kind to help and I certainly can relate to what you and everyone here says. Yes they do care for me and are well meaning, I think they get frustrated as they can see everything he’s done to me and think I cant see it but of course I do, I think part of me still doesn’t want to believe he’s capable of treating me so awful. I’m sorry you have to see him regarding your dear Daughter, that’s hard, my children are grown with children of their own but he’s cut them all off but they are so angry with him anyway. I really am grateful to you xx

      • The amount of cruelty they are capable of still takes my breath away. Its as if we have to be totally destroyed because they chose to cheat. If they can wipe us away completely, they have done no wrong and simply unplug one wife appliance and plug in another. Our very presence, and goodness, is a threat to their perceived goodness and honor. Barf!

        Hugs to you. What a colossal nightmare.

        • Thankyou sweetheart, yes its unbelievable how they transform into monsters. I never saw it coming either. I so want my feelings for him to go away and the images to stop. He doesn’t even know if he loves her so he destroyed our marriage and family on a whim. My heart goes out to you too and everyone here going through this. Thankyou for helping xx

          • “I so want my feelings for him to go away and the images to stop.”

            OMGoodness yes. I feel like if I could turn that part of my brain off the rest would be ok. I’m sending you massive amounts of positive vibes.

              • Carol sweetheart – in the last two years I’ve been part of Chump Nation, I’ve marvelled with my fellow Chumps at how very similar the trajectories of these cheaters and betrayers are. I’ve also seen how similar the (upward!) trajectories of my fellow Chumps are. Have you noticed that? Yes it may take longer for you – or not; there may be lapses – or not: but you WILL one day be free of him and them, reach Meh, hear your walls sing. Keep coming here, keep writing, keep reading, we love you x

          • I thought I’d never stop loving and wanting to restore the marriage. However, the more I found out, the more I healed from the trauma bond, the more I became truthful to myself about how he actually treated me in the marriage, the easier it got. I finally realized i was in love with my idea of what he should be, should have been, and not who he really is.

            I spackled so much. I think I was married to myself and my idea of marriage far more than I ever was him. The counselor said it wasn’t a good marriage or a bad marriage, it was a complete failure of a marriage. He married a housekeeper, cook, and general life manager. I married a complete Fuckwit who came into the marriage with an agenda to screw my life up as much as possible while getting others to feel sorry for him and hate me (he actually told me that toward the end, should have read his ‘score card’ he created on our WEDDING DAY…..).

            It was never a marriage for him. It was a created war. I, on the other hand, went all in and spent 25 years trying to figure out why he acted the way he did, excusing it all, and working like a dog to keep it all going, only to be left, smeared, and blamed.

            • Gosh I can totally relate to everything you say here. Its like you’ve written about me and my marriage. I put my heart and soul into it and was still doing that at the end. With hindsight I can see he changed over the last few years and became awful during the final year whichbi think is when he met her. Nothing I did was right, he constantly critised me. I just thought he was moody as he was getting older.

              You too were totally committed and we both can now notice what they did to us but its still hard to believe isn’t it love?

              Then they just leave with no remorse and we have to learn how to detach when we didn’t have chance to prepare, they never gavevus a choice. Its disgusting, wicked and pure evil the pain and anguish they cause.

              I hope I find some of your strength soon, take care xx

              • Our situations are all so similar. What helps me deal if I ever lament our lost marriage is a diary I kept in 2012 (when I thought it was a mid life crisis). All I need to do is read a few of my entries to make me appreciate that “I have been delivered from evil”. Why I endured that emotional abuse, I’ll never know.

    • Oh my word, what a monster. I feel so, so much for you. The hell you “don’t need to go to court”. Get a bulldog solicitor and take him to the cleaners. I wish I were nearer to you (I guess you’re in the UK since you say “solicitor”). Take that bastard for every penny he’s got. I hope you have someone on your side/you can lean on. And don’t put too much store by what his “solicitor” says you must do. That will go down like a lead brick in court. You should not be going through this alone. Lots of love to you.

      • Bless your heart Attie, yes I’m in the U. K. I just can’t get my head around how he’s changed, he’s now evil but tries to blame me. I have grown up children and a sister and friends supporting me which I’m so thankful for. He can’t understand why they don’t want to talk to him. He is adament that he will not have to pay me anything despite leaving me penniless and stealing all I had. I hope karma exists love as I so want it for them. My solicitor says it all depends on his form e disclosure but I so want it to go to court before it gets that I can’t afford it as I was loaned money but its nearly gone. Take care and thankyou xx

        • Hi Carol another Brit here

          The UK courts are your friend. DO NOT DO ANYTHING WITHOUT A SOLICITOR. Make sure they are family solicitors and don’t let him off anything. Thank goodness for mine, because of them I got a fair settlement.

          The courts won’t let him decide what the rules are. They have seen it all before. 27 years have to be paid for and pay he will. It is illegal for him to lie on his Form E, he can go to jail. Our solicitor followed the money and he behaved himself.

          As for the pain, I honestly thought I was going to die. Heartbreak is real. One day at a time, and remember what Winston Churchill said:

          When you are going through Hell, keep on going!

          • Hi Patsy,
            Thankyou so much for your kind words and help. I just hope I can get it to courts, I tjink forms e s were exchanged yesterday. He’s trying to make out he’s only recently started a pension yet he’s 60 next year. I know he’s had one at work for years and two private ones as well. Thanks to him and my health I’m just on benefits, family and friends have helped me but money for solicitor will run out soon. They worry me as they say it all depends on his form e and whether it will cost me too much to go to court, but I think they will as they were talking first about maintenance pending suit and an application for costs. He will go crazy if he ends up in court but he chose this. He thought he could walk away from all his responsibilities and set up with her. He gas told so many lies, he is definitely cohabiting but says I can’t prove it and that he will out his parents address on there. I’m truly sorry you’ve had to go through this too love. Take care xx

    • If you don’t have a lawyer you need to get one now. It doesn’t matter what your ex thinks. You WILL get a chunk of his pension, the house WILL be sold, proceeds WILL be divided, you WILL get spousal support. But only if you get lawyer.

      Its NOT your fault you are sick and NOT your fault he chose to be a cheater.

      • Thankyou Zell, yes he chose this road and left pain and chaos in his wake. I do have a lawyer and I’m hoping i can afford to get it to court as he was smirking at me when he said I’ll get nothing. How on earth can I still feel for someone like that, makes no sense. Thankyou for helping xx

    • I want to respond to your post but I am not sure what to say because I am so frickin pissed at your cheater. I just can’t fathom how anyone could treat someone this way, especially someone you have been with for years and to whom you said vows in front of witnesses. How do these people even exist? Ugh!

      • I’m still in total shock love, its like a bad dream. I never thought him capable of such things and he’s getting worse, I have gone no contact as he messes with my head otherwise but its hard. The last time we spoke he said he couldn’t even speak to me before because I’d shouted at him when I found out and threw a few files on the floor, he said he’d never seen me like that in 27 years and it frightened him, it frightened me to be honest but that’s all he tells people about, that I shouted. I asked him if he felt any guilt and shame yet he himself then got really angry. I do appreciate your kindness thankyou xx

        • Carol, please Google “trauma bonding” and read everything you can on it.

          I was stuck, the same as you, with the shame of feeling that I loved and missed someone who was, in reality, a complete monster.

          My entire support system HATED ex narcopath, and so these feelings of longing could not be expressed to them, and I was ashamed for even feeling them.

          Chump Lady was the only safe place to express myself. So please, continue to express yourself here. WE GET IT. No judgement.

          In my search for understanding, I was reading a lot on narcissism and stumbled across trauma bonding. I realized that is what I was experiencing. As well as massive cognitive dissonance.

          I can’t summarize them very well here, with the limited space, so I encourage you to research those terms and see if they apply to your situation.

          What also helped me, when I was missing him was to make a list of “anything he ever did for me, that didn’t benefit him. ”

          With the qualifier “benefit himself””, I could not write ONE THING on that list. That was an eye opener.

          I am now a year out and time does help. I am past the dark days but it seems always to be in the back of my mind and feel that it’s almost like PTSD. Smells and songs trigger me. It scares me that I loved someone so evil. If I had stayed any longer with him, i think i would have been consumed. It’s like I have woken from a nightmare and I am shaking my head trying to comprehend what I have gone through.

          Hugs to you. I have been there and it does get better with time. But you are still in the wringer with this asshole and therefore it’s like continually picking a scab.

          • Hi darling, thankyou so much for helping, I have wondered about PTSD as I keep reliving it and having obsessive thoughts and images about them together. I will definitely look at trauma bonding as it sounds that’s what it is.

            I’m truly sorry you had this dreadful trauma too, there ought to be a law against men and women who knowingly abandon and destroy another human being. I like to think karma eventually catches up to them.

            Thankyou so much xx

        • Oh Carol, what a horrible man. When D-Day arrived, I threw a beer bottle at the X’s truck as he was pulling in the driveway. I was livid with rage! The bottle shattered but no harm to the windshield. When he tells the story of how I flipped out with anger, he neglects to tell the reason why I was so angry. Anyone who has met me knows that I’m not a person that angers easily or violently. Some of our friends questioned why I would do that. For the ones that don’t know me and only know his story, who the hell cares…shrugs. He’s the one that has to lie to make himself out to be the “good” guy. Not me.

          • Hi love, bless you I’m not surprised you did that. I’m not one to get angry to the degree I did either but I’d been cheated on, lied to and stolen from so I feel that anyone would shout but apparently, like you we aren’t supposed to do such things. Some would have done a lot worse than we did eh hun? But then who can blame them xx

        • For pretty much the first time in 22 years I allowed myself to show some anger at my husband. The next morning I got ‘the ILYBINILWY, need space etc’ speech, And also he said that he was leaving because I was angry the night before and he didn’t like it. They are conflict avoidant excuses for adult men and that is known to cause problems. It wasn’t an honest relationship and I see that now I am free of him.

          • What is with cheater and anger? The X threw numerous temper tantrums for 19 years for things like the dog looked at him wrong, or the spatula was in the wrong drawer, stupid shit. Before he said he wanted a divorce, I got mad at him one evening because he had pointedly ignore me and I didn’t why. I didn’t know he was visiting hookers at the time but he was acting very distant and odd. He had the fucking nerve to tell that yelling at him solved nothing. He even made a point of asking if I was going to yell before he was willing to talk with me about wanting a divorce. I told him that I was allowed to express my feelings because I’ve held them back for 19 years while he could get mad at will and I was supposed to take it. Fuck that shit.

            • I am an extremely placid person. So laid back I could almost fall over, but my ex’ rages and temper tantrums were constant, and I mean constant! I got to the point that I couldn’t find swear words to do justice to my fury! It frightened even me. Since he has been gone I’m back to my old placid self. I actually don’t even wish the temper tantrums/rages on Schmoopie, although I know she is on the receiving end. She posted something on FB not so long ago about how “words can be just as painful as blows” (although knowing my ex she is probably on the receiving end of his fists too).

          • That’s exactly how it was with me and yes I shouted but I didn’t lie cheat or steal so I think I deserved a moment as did you love. If anyone had told me six months ago I’d be living alone after being abandoned I’d never have believed it. Thankyou and I’m so sorry you had this awful thing happen to you too x

    • Carol: you can’t heal until you detach from him. Then you can fill in the void in your life with YOU (as I suspect you have rarely focused on yourself while with fuckwit).

      Cheaters often threaten horrible personal and financial consequences if we try to divorce them, but it’s just that–a threat. Do not move without legal advice, but start the legal detachment asap. You don’t want to cry forever. Plenty of chumps on this page have been divorced at 57 or older, and gone on to heal and lead fulfilling lives. Hugs to you.

      • I really appreciate your help love thankyou. I do need to detach and I’m hoping no contact will help with that. He’s definitely getting evil regarding money that’s for sure, he financially abused me and left me penniless and never cared one iota. I do hope I can return the favour. I hope I can get the strength to move on like the amazing people here xx

    • The advice and help you need is a fucking pit bull lawyer. I am so angry on your behalf. This is pure bullying and financial fraud and abuse. I know you are not well but you need to get on the phone get friends to take you to see some lawyers and get his mealy mouthed solicitor off your back. If he wants to tussle you show him what that looks like. Things aren’t working out with OW and he wants to move back into the house and drain it dry while you languish on disability. Fuck him and the entitled horse he rode in on. Go onto the forums and ask for advice for your state and area and the names of some good lawyers. We’re here for you. He is a fuckwit and a coward

      • Thankyou so much, I’ve found it all very traumatic, I uses to he a string person but him, the illness, the surgery and his bulkybof a lawyer have broken me but thankfully I’ve got wonderful children, family, friends and now this amazing group with you wonderful people in it. My lawyer has now got his financial disclosure, I haven’t seen it yet but I’m sure he will lie on it. I can’t believe he’s done all this to me, my vows 27 years ago meant everything to me, I could never do this to him ever. I truly appreciate yours and everyones help and support today xx

        • Dear Carol, YOU ARE NOT BROKEN. You are feeling awful because your idiot husband has done what all these idiots do. Run off in a cowardly avoidant manner just when you are facing difficult circumstances with your health. It is hard enough to deal with their actions when you are not unwell but when you are way below par physically…so,so hard. Remember who you were before all this, in fact remember back to when you were yourself properly. I bet you were really strong and caring ( I can see you are now actually from how you write). You WILL be that person again. This is a necessary event in life to get rid of someone who was no longer good for you. He has shown you who he really is, as they all do. Believe it and be grateful you are free. That’s how I feel even though it is very hard day to day sometimes. I hope you are taking care of yourself as best you can in terms of nutrition and sleep. Call on all the professional physical and mental health help you can. I know this is awful but it’s also opportunity. He’s a total idiot, threatening you with his equally idiot and probably juvenile lawyer. He won’t get away with what he thinks you know. He’s just stupid enough to think he will. Take care, we are all here supporting you.

          • That’s really kind of you, everyone here has been amazing today and I’ve been helped so much. Yes I used to be very strong, its like I’ve lost myself at the moment. I’m regaining some strength as I was very undernourished and now I’m being fed this high protein nutrient food via a pump every night I’m hoping that will help. He said he didn’t like my nasal tube so I pulled it out, it was so silly of me as I ended up back in hospital, then he said that was my fault!! I spend my whole life in the caring profession, specializing in dementia care and emergency first responding with the ambulance service. I lost my career due to illness and he never understood how that made me feel. Now I feel more loss. I have to admit that his lawyer does make me feel bullied and intimidated but mine says she is bringing that to the attention of the court. I just hope I can afford to take it all the way. I do feel he should help pay for my future, at the very least he should be made to pay me back the £7000 of mine he took. He’s uo to his neck in debt, his credit is no good anywhere. There’s no money left in the house. I think she saw our house, his car, him in a suit with a briefcase and thought money, what she didn’t know is he will still owe few thousandvon the house even after its sold, the car is a company car not his and he has lots of debts. I’m truly sorry you have had to go through this horrible thing too, I so wish no one here had, had too. Thankyou so much xx

            • Looks like she has really won the prize there. They are so cheap aren’t they. I wonder how long that will last when she realises that it’s not as lucrative as she thought. And he is not a kind person. Imagine saying he doesn’t like your NG tube. It’s keeping you alive for gods sake. That alone should tell you what a prat he is. I can’t even start to describe what I think of that mentality. Send the schmoopie some flowers, she has relieved you of a tiresome twat and good luck to her.

              • Yes she will have a financial shock love if she hasn’t already. My children are wondering if things are going wrong anyway and that’s why he wanted to move back by himself into our old home that’s up for sale. Of course he can’t now as I out it back on the market so he’s financially stuck. If he ends up having to pay me too then that will definitely put a strain on things, my heart bleeds for them!!! NOT. When you put it in words like you have you are right she’s won no prize at all just gained a liar, cheat and thief. Take care xx

    • Get an attorney and file; he’s making you Plan B, just in case he wants another victim.

      Don’t let him bully you anymore.

      • Yes I’ve filed now and have a lawyer, just waiting on his financial disclosure which was exchanged yesterday I think. He hasn’t mentioned coming back to me and the family since our last verbal exchange a month ago. I don’t ask him anything anymore as his answer to any question was I don’t know. I’m hoping no contact will help me detach quicker and move forward. Thankyou x

    • Carol It’s exactly what has been said. It’s not that we are any braver than you, we have been there, we feel your pain, it’s just that some of the posts come from people who have weathered the storm and are further along in the journey. The pain is finite, you will have a better life.Yesterday after my counselling had finished I realised I had not told my counsellor his non reaction to my latest visit to A & E. Forty years of being let down and hoping on some level he would actually be kind. I realised I hadn’t told her because it didn’t matter any more. She also told me you are coming to an acceptance of who he is. When you do too ,it will get easier. It’s not that you are any different, you have loved fully with all your being, it’s hard letting go of that, but you will find peace. Hell, you’ ll one day be writing on here encouraging newbies xx

      • I’m so very grateful for this love, its such a help as at the moment I can’t see me losing this intense emotional pain. The incredible feelings of loss and fear of being alone for the first time. None if us deserve to be treated this way. I can’t wait fir the day when I don’t miss him anymore, don’t think of them and don’t cry daily. As soon as I get over this I would certainly help others if I can like you, and others here are doing for me. Thank you xx

        • My heart just cries out for you, where abouts in the UK are you? The laws are good for us in this country, so long as you have found a good specialist divorce lawyer, he can not get away with it. I’m south east x

          • Thankyou love I’m in the South West. I do have a good family law solicitor but they said they can’t make a final decision until they go through his form E which I think they had yesterday. He will lie on it I expect, he’s cohabiting but says he’s at his parents. Why can I still miss and have feelings for a person like that. Yesterday I thought I did a bit better, today I’m in floods of tears, I feel a huge sense of loss, I can’t wait for the day that they aren’t in my mind all the time. Will there come a day when I don’t think of them or what they are doing. I feel thrown away like rubbish, like I never existed for 27 years. I so appreciate your kindness xx

            • Yes there will come a day, I know that because for me it was 40 years, and I know I’m over the worse of it. It will get easier. I was in love with who I thought he was and the whole aspect of a family and being married, I realised eventually I didn’t actually love him. Maybe you will be the same. Be kind to yourself. I used always to have a bath with candles, at the time I know he was having to cook his own meal, and tell myself how lucky I was not to have to cook, (he hasn’t moved out yet,) though we still lead separate lives. Hugs.

              • PS you should get a copy of his form e, you can go through it and ask your solicitor to raise questions he thinks are worth querying. If he is untruthful potentially he could end up in jail. The courts don’t care about adultery, they do however take a very dim view of hiding assets.

              • You sound an amazingly strong lady. I’m not having a great day and now have just received his financial disclosure form e. Its really upset me as he’s told a lot of lies on it, he also said I ran up lots of debts that he will have to pay off and that despite my feeding tube and illness I should get a job. I hope I can be like you soon, thankyou so much xx

  • I call BS on the concept of unconditional love. Literally the only people in the entire universe who have any claim on my unconditional love are my own three children. Every one else — partner, parents, siblings, friends — is conditional and it absolutely should be that way. I do not even expect unconditional love from my children. Conditional love is not a bad concept — it is a healthy one. It says, I have boundaries. You cannot hurt me so terribly, treat me so poorly, and then expect my unconditional love.

    I say that unconditional love as a concept is rarely considered in its full implications, but rather is offered as a cheap platitude like “God doesn’t send you more than you can handle” which to me is a horrifying sentiment. Imagine saying that to someone whose child was murdered! Are you saying God sent the murderer? Etc..

    • I agree! The Bible is FULL of conditional love. Adultery is grounds for divorce, period end point. The wedding vows are “to love, honor, cherish, forsake all others . . . . ” If there’s abuse, cheating, then you are within your absolute right to divorce the cheater. Where the wreck-onciliation industry gets it wrong. And, even Cheaterpants is into conditional love, all be it shallow, conditional lvoe. “AP makes me feel alive…” and “Faulty wife appliance flipped the pancakes wrong…” Loved the Cookie and Red Sox analogy.

  • The cheaters have powerful allies. Politicians and celebrities. All out to decriminalize and normalize adultery. What once was a stoning to death is now a feel sorry for the mistreated cheater. The chump now seems to be viewed with suspicion. Pain is real. We have suffered the ultimate betrayal. My observation was I could not eat or sleep. She started gaining some pounds and was asleep when her head hit the pillow. Why not? It was all my fault!

    • I couldnt believe how much sleep I lost and could still function while my husband would just be snoring away within minutes.

      • Same!
        I was a chump for two years – and he slept fine – he promised the OW kids was part of the message I read on Dday. He works away -6-8 weeks OS we loyally waited for him whilst he was living it up
        We have an 8 and 10 year old. I feel pain and betryal for the kids I cant share with them. Traitor.

  • I too have been accused of holding onto the pain. I was even told that i only had ‘loss ‘ because i chose to label it as loss. This after losing my marriage, both grown kids (due to his unbelievable smear campaign and 20+ years of lies ), my mom and sister died just before it all fell apart, my home, my job, my reputation, the town/state i lived in most of my life, financial stability, my only grandchild, ect, ect.

    I went to counseling with him for 20+ years, HE was the one evaluated a cluster B Bi-Polar, I’ve done all in my power to move forward and heal from all this. i live in another state now alone, work 6-7 days per week, do all the home and yard work, and am in college. im tired of the condemnation of others for the pain i still feel. No one has yet been able to tell me the statute of limitations for pain when your entire world is destroyed.

    I’ve been a target of a psychopath for half my life, raised by narcs with a psychopathic sister, endured shit that only chump nation seems to understand, and i was tried, convicted, and sentenced by everyone due to his character assasination.

    I often wonder how the finger pointing, never lived a second if it, perfect plastic people around me would be handling it if they had lived any version of what i have. I REFUSE to stay around that crap!

    I’m healing. Ive gotten an associate’s degree, published a book of poetry for women divorcing a narc, have 2 more almost ready to publish, moved twice, and building a business while grieving and dealing with it all.

    God has stayed so close to me. But i STILL hurt daily at the loss of my home, my kids, my grandchild, my life. It’s lonely alone. Its hard to make friends while grieving and working.

    Stop beating the already beaten and broken people. We need hugs, lunch invitations, hiking buddies, pizza night, ect. Not constant condemnation. We had enough of that in the marriage from hell.

  • The tools the New Age movement offers are often very helpful. The ways are people who believe it is possible to feel happy every second think you should use those tools are often (a) impossible, and (b) harmful.

    It’s kind of like nice vs. kind, a discussion we’ve read here before, in that seeking happy in the moment can keep you from finding joy in the big picture. If you think tapping a bunch of spots on your body when you feel bad will cause you to let all bad feelings go about that topic for the rest of your life, it might give you a sense of relief in the moment and you will feel happy. If the bad feeling about that topic arises again, though, then there is clearly something wrong with you personally. If you believe that some guru can make this work and you can’t, it becomes hard to see your life from a place that includes joy.

    My advice is this: Use the tools to help you cope, but trust that your feelings are valid and your heart knows how it is doing. Don’t measure your progress based on what percentage of the time you feel happy. Instead, embrace the concept that you feel pain deeply because you have a great big heart, and that is a good thing. Let joy for things that are good sit down next to the pain for things that are not good. You have room in there for good things next to the bad things. You don’t have to deny the bad to also embrace the good. The tools can help you do that, and you will remain authentic, even as others try (perhaps accidentally) to invalidate your pain.

  • “How you respond to pain is a choice.” This is really key to the whole thing. We can respond in ways that make our pain worse or which cause others pain or we can respond in ways that allow healing. The latter isn’t always easy but we can chose that and be better for it in the long run.

    Evidently, however, the things that cause pain are different for different people. Some people really don’t care if their spouses cheat on them. I never really understood Ex’s pain. He had a high paying job, a nice house in a nice neighborhood, three awesome children, a faithful and devoted wife and an airplane. He was still hurting. Other people had even bigger incomes and bigger houses. Other people’s houses were tidier. Other people had more children. Other people had bigger airplanes. He wasn’t the CEO. Other people’s wives wore more fashionable clothes. Life was unfair. He was getting a raw deal in life. I thought he chose his pain (although I would not have dared tell him that). I didn’t understand his pain and just wasn’t supportive enough in getting him through his hardships. All I did was let him buy the airplane, quit his high paying but unfulfilling job and move half way across the country so he could live where he wanted to live. I didn’t fix it for him and I didn’t display adequate sympathy for his plight or the hardships he had endured so he chose to respond to his pain by blaming me for everything that had gone wrong in his life and looking for comfort in the arms of another.

    • Truth is he didn’t have “pain” he had greed and envy and a big black whole where his heart and soul should have been.

  • I threw the lying liar out three years ago this Sunday. In those years, I negotiated the divorce, cared for my brother who died of cancer and survived cancer myself.
    As my mind clears, I am seeing my marriage more clearly, examining small pieces at a time. Every insight eases the pain, which was devastating. Understanding the dynamics allows me to forgive myself for tolerating his abuse. It also has opened my eyes to the fact he is very weak while I was the strong one. That is why he picked me. Recovery is incremental, but each step leads to peace.
    The world has reopened its doors to me at 63 years old. It has taken all these hard years, but peace is out there. And joy. And laughter and excitement.
    First, live through the pain. Be gentle with yourself. Rid yourself of naysayers and users.
    Exercise. Get a pet. Snatch back your power. That might sound new agey but it is not. It is healing for me. At last. I am hearing the walls of my house humming, if not yet singing!

    • “As my mind clears, I am seeing my marriage more clearly, examining small pieces at a time. ”

      This is so true. When the divorce and D-Day happened, I was telling my aunt about the state of my marriage. She made a comment that it must have been lonely for me during those years of marriage. I had never really thought about it but she was right. I was very much alone as his priorities were only about his dreams, wants and needs. We rarely talked about our goals and dreams for us. He never spent the emotional time thinking about his wife and what he could do to make her happy, or make her life better or less stressful. And all of my emotional time was spent trying to ensure that his dreams and needs happened. Looking back, I feel for that person who had no one to help her. It was a shitty way to live.

  • There’s some truth to the saying “pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” What? Isn’t pain and suffering the same thing? No, not necessarily. When you get pistol-whipped by the mugger, it’s damn painful. Those bones may be painful for months. But how much you suffer from it is a different matter, because suffering to a certain degree is controllable, and varies from person to person. I’m a therapist and I work with people who keep their suffering going, often at a high pitch, without realizing they are doing it. Hating the mugger, hating all men, becoming fearful at going out, slipping into bitterness and cynicism, feeling guilt and shame because you “allowed” yourself to get mugged in the first place, turning into a perpetual victim, etc. – these are all forms of a kind of self-chosen suffering that people unwittingly keep alive by how they react to their pain.

    Pain is real, incredibly real, whether it’s physical or emotional or relational. How we respond to it is very important and one of the great challenges of life. CL is right that we have control ONLY over ourselves and when pain comes in our lives (which it will inevitably, again and again), we have choice in how we react to it, and therefore have some control over our degree of suffering. But you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to convince people of this!

  • I think this is a variant on a uniquely American “if bad things happen to you, it means you caused it”, such as “what did you do to cause your Cheater to cheat? You got cancer because you ate red meat, and I’m immune from cancer because I don’t eat red meat” philosophy. I get it, we all like to feel in total control of our lives, but that’s just not possible.

  • I think you can choose whom to follow in terms of self help. There are many self made gurus on the topic. But I only go with the ones that I feel that resonate with me.
    So make your choices, or even change them when you feel they are not aligned with your inner being.

  • I don’t know about any of my fellow chumps…….but felt the PAIN of being cheated on and unloved. It was as real as getting stabbed, run over by a car, dropped on my head or burned by the stove. I felt literally sick to my stomach every day (my 25 pound weight loss proved it), my heart hurt, my thoughts were jumbled, it was tiring. I didn’t make myself feel it (or choose it)….it was just there every day when I woke up (from that piss poor night of sleep I got). I physically got shingles because of the stress I felt.

    These gurus don’t know what they are talking about. It is REAL PHYSICAL PAIN!

    • Personally, I think it’s worse. I’ve been been beaten. Many, many times. I’ve been stabbed. I’d do that 1000 times rather than deal with not seeing my child as much as I’d like or being cheated on.

      Physical pain is something I can deal with. Nothing prepares you for an affair.

    • (((Kimmy)))

      My social worker/counselor told me that we didn’t want “issues in the tissues”. These psychological traumas can and do manifest as some form of body stress leading to a worse condition. We purposefully sleep deprived prisoners in IRAQ and AFGHANISTAN to get Intel on OBL. It’s an effective technique for wearing down an enemy.

      Who could sleep Anyway with the XXX mind movies roaring inside my head.. And the D diet. It worked. I’m down somewhere between 65 and 80 pounds. Last summer through fall I was walking 3 miles a day, then joined a Dojang. I took Self Care seriously. Psychiatrists the whole nine.

      I’m getting healthy… and my x looks worse every time I have to lay eyes on her.
      I don’t want ‘her issues in my tissues’. Bakery closed.

  • You didn’t create your own pain! That’s nonsense. But you are creating your own guilt which is also nonsense. Why feel guilty for feeling sad or angry or hurt? Are those feeling wrong? Who said so? What rational purpose is that serving? Who benefits from your guilt?

    The struggle is real. Suffering is real. Pain is real. But at some point you get to choose what feelings and thoughts you want to focus your attention on and at that point maybe it does become an issue of perception being reality. And that work can be very hard – accepting, letting go and moving on mean you have to grow and change. Growth is often painful and change is often scary. But the only other option is to stay stuck. If you look around you’ll see many people choose that option, too. Again, what purpose does that serve? Some people choose their past as their focus because it’s become their identity. Instead of seeing the events of the past as being things that have happened – experiences that they’ve participated in just by being there- they see those events as definitions or “I am this that has happened to me.” Of course, when you live as a definition it’s going to be difficult to move past the trauma because the trauma is defining you. But it doesn’t have to. You get to choose – certainly not right away- but at a point, without revisiting the events of the past in your mind or worrying about the future, being fully in the moment you can choose to notice that you feel absolutely fine. And that will be the truth in that moment. And at that moment- for however long it lasts- you’ve let go of the injury and the pain. Then you can build on that moment and it becomes part of your past experience. You can now focus on those times you’ve been jus fine instead of the times you’ve felt pain. And those moments grow and grow until you reach meh or better than meh. I think that’s behind the idea of “no one can hurt you unless you allow them to”. Of course they can. But not forever, unless you give them the physical and emotional power or the focus of your own mind in perpetuity.

  • Timely topic for me.

    While driving home from work just yesterday I had an amazing realization.

    Ten years ago, D-Day #1, I knew deep down in my gut the marriage was over. But I fought to save it for what I mostly thought were honorable reasons. And sure those reasons were legit, but I now think I was too afraid of the pain. I was too afraid to hurt.

    So I put off what was coming. I avoided the truth. It was going to hurt too much.

    There’s no avoiding that pain. Not if you want a true and powerful life.

    • I suspect the X had a couple of flings, one about 11 years ago and one again about 8 years ago. I did not want to accept that what I suspected was true so I chose to ignore and deny. But, I don’t think it ever left me, and it probably sub-consciously affected the way I treated and approached the X. I didn’t want to accept the reality that he was willing to hurt and use me.

  • I read two books (actually only one) in the beginning of this shit storm that raised it’s ugly head last August 15th. Hey THAT’S ONE YEAR + one week today. YAY Me! What were they?

    Michelle Weiner Davis’ book from which the “The 180” was derived. I did not find the 32 steps to 180 in her book that I found neatly ordered on another site. They may have been interspersed throughout her text. My take away from that book was a kind of “Mix it up, Change it up” Psycho-guide of how to “make the marriage a good place to be”. Some (a lot) of PsyOP.

    My Divorce Bible was LAC-GAL, Chump Lady’s Survival Guide. I got the Audio book because I’m not much of a long, in-depth reader of novels, fiction, romance,etc. however I made copious notes on each chapter of the base coursework I knew I needed to do to come out of this immeasurable pain. I didn’t cry but maybe twice. That hurt. That I couldn’t let it out in the arms of a loving family member and move on faster. That’s because it went much deeper than that. I’ve always said that I could count my real friends on one hand. It’s absolutely true. The ones that truly loved me came forth and was there. Everyday, Even thru their compassion fatigue. These are the REAL reciprocal people in your life.

    The pain I feel today is in my knees, hips, feet, shoulders, knuckles and my ass. That pain is real physical pain from returning to practicing a demanding martial art I was proficient in 40 years ago and lost along the way ( the cocksure nature of youth). Thank You MOM for getting me involved in that activity.

    I’ve taken this 295-315# (Fat) frame back down to 222# and am feeling physically much stronger after having NOT exercised for 3 decades. 6 hours a week in the Dojang certainly helps with the mental revenge, anger and emasculation issues. I’m slowly chiseling this 58 year old body back to that condition where I feel safe, attractive and agile. (HA! I’ve actually been told I have a nice ASS BTW! ROTFLMAO) There is pain but this is one of my choosing -UNLIKE ADULTERY. The most important aspect is not the physicality of it all, it’s the mental discipline, the focus, the altered state that I get which is vastly different and more positive than what I’m coming out of. FINDING ME. And falling deeply in love with what I am, what I’ve been given, What I’ve worked for, What I’ve learned from struggle. IF this is wisdom then it comes with a price tag of PAIN. Will Joy return? OF Course it will. IF I let it.

    The linger on x-PsyOP effects are still with me. I noticed I treated other women I’ve met, thinking they were my x. And by that I mean that I go into a new relationship conditioned to respond/react/act the way my marriage relationship was. I’m Dangerous to ME because my picker’s broke, Another Infidelity gift of conscience. And there are only two of those moms that I interact with on a self-imposed ‘Friend Zoned’ relationship. Both are not wife material either even though I do entertain the idea of sex with them both- Yes separately you dirty minds out there. They do talk to me openly, they make me laugh. They make me live and I try to show their kids what a real man looks like…A chump man. And I like to do nice things for them and their kids (both are single moms).

    SO Happy 53 weeks Marcus. Week 106 will be 1000 times better. Hell to the YEH.

    • Hell to the YEH from me as well MARCUS LAZARUS!

      I’m a guy in his 50’s too who’s got himself into the best physical condition of his life (lots of hard work but still more to do — it’s a bit addictive) and is finally starting to feel confident, probably far more than I ever have been.

      D-Day for me was 16 Aug last year (you ‘beat’ me by a day). Hopefully I’ll completely forget about that date far into the future. I can look back now and the first 6 months was sheer hell. I lost so much weight on the Infidelity Diet. Slept like 2-3 hours a night. I really was a zombie. Then I woke up (being on the cliff-edge of bankruptcy and having the bailiffs walk through your house with a policeman can do that to a person). Still haven’t got away from STBXW but have avoided her (almost) completely during these summer months. Now I just want to get away 100% from her. Unfortunately we still are linked due to young children and a business so not an immediate option. Next week we meet back up again to start the new school year and I do feel a physical pain almost nausea about that. The ‘Meh’ isn’t there yet but there is an awful lot of hatred & anger.

  • Speaking as a person of faith who IS religious (although you wouldn’t know it from my potty mouth sometimes), you have every right to be pissed as hell. Betrayal hurts. Being hurt isn’t some kind of moral shortcoming or character flaw on your part. It’s heartbreaking.

    I spent years thinking that if I wanted to be a good Christian, I had to just get over things and act like they never happened. That’s B.S.

    One can extend the offer of forgiveness, but to be forgiven, for ACTUAL reconciliation to occur and not bullshit reconciliation, the offending party needs to recognize they have done something that requires it.

    Some things, you just aren’t going to get over. You can move on and make a better life, but you don’t just stop hurting. Below is a link to an article that sums up these concepts better than I can.

    http://thefederalist.com/2018/01/30/one-survivors-shows-forgive-monster-like-larry-nassar/

    Now, I realize that people here have different foundational assumptions than I do, so this isn’t an attempt to push religion on anyone. But this is something that has really helped me process what happened; knowing that I don’t have to produce warm, fuzzy feelings for the narcopath myself. That I can still enforce boundaries and demand justice, and there is nothing unforgiving or bitter about that. Additionally true repentance involves real change, not just saying “sorry” and thinking that’ll do the trick.

    I think part of my rage stemmed from seeing him go on his merry way like he didn’t just upend my life, humiliate me, and jerk me around. How dare that bastard! Why does he get to be happy, while I’m humiliated? Where is the justice in that?

    But I also realized that he is never going to be truly happy in life, because there is nothing good in him. In C.S. Lewis’ book The Great Divorce, he says that everyone who is in hell is there because of their own choosing. He also said that, “The gates of hell are locked from the inside.” The Orthodox Church has a different teaching than Western Christianity when it comes to hell. It teaches that when we die, we will all see the light of God. For some that light will look like salvation. For others, it will look like a fire and they will want to run from it.

    This means that whatever happens to the narcopath in the end, it will ultimately be his choice. He has the opportunity to ask for and receive forgiveness or to reject it, and if he rejects that opportunity, will get everything that he deserves in the end.

    Again, I’m not trying to push my faith on anyone. I would not tell anyone who’s been betrayed to just get over it and that they have to forgive. It’s unkind and grossly insensitive. So in the end, I would just say make a choice to be happy in spite of everything, be kind to everyone, and enjoy your life anyway.

    The karma bus will mow him down in the end.

    • One of my best friends who has a Missionary Cross Cultural Ministries degree wrote a blog on Biblical Forgivness VS Letting Go. It’s still one of the best things I’ve found on the difference. Whenever someone starts beating the ‘forgiveness’ drum, I simply get their email and forward it to them. It’s priceless. I don’t have that discussion anymore, especially with people who have never lived a version of this garbage.

      I’m as fundamental christian as you can get and a seminary student, but forgiveness is conditional. From God to us, and between people.

    • I am Catholic (although my own potty mouth almost sometimes belies that!), and I agree. So many people want cheap grace–which is really just another name for no consequences. My priest saved my life the day that he told me, “You cannot forgive/absolve someone who is not willing to fully confess, take complete responsibility, show true remorsefulness, and repents by doing penance and sincerely intends to not repeat the sin.” I can’t and you can’t either. Even God (the only source of real love for me) requires these things before Grace/forgiveness is granted. How many of us got that?

      • Catholic – check. Potty mouth – check. Spiritual abuse survivor – check.

        It’s true. Forgiveness is probably the only thing that CAN be one-sided, when you finally put the rock down and walk away. But that’s more about setting YOU free from them, and leaving it to God to settle their hash for you.

        Love is not one-sided. But trauma bonding is. So is obsession.

  • I think i read somewhere (jung,Buddha..?) that in order to achieve consciousness one must go thru a death of the ego. I have definitely felt the death part. And im guessing its my ego that died. Maybe im still fighting it. Who knows. All i know is it has sucked.
    I think this is precisely what keeps a narcissistic a narcissistic. To go thru a death of the ego would mean their death. At least that is their fear anyways. And fear is what keeps them stuck. I mean, i get it. But the difference is i had no choice. I didnt see this coming. Im deep in it and i have to keep moving forward. And its a painful process. No one can avoid pain. But narcissists do everything possible. They are more aware in certain ways. But ultimately they lack the certainty that they are resilient.

    • And i also believe our pain is caused by pure trauma. To know that someone is willing to mug you for 20 bucks is traumatic. They are an animal. An anonymous animal. To experience someone who claimed to love you robbing you makes it personal. The trauma is still there but its not anonymous. You realize they have no lines. They are lower than an animal. Just this knowledge is traumatic in itself. I think that is where a lot of us get stuck. Its just unfathomable.

  • I’m all for encouraging people toward agency, but to say we “choose pain” is complete and utter nonsense. Emotions evolved for a reason, and individual emotions evolved to handle particular situations.

    Remember the recent mother whale who carried around her baby’s corpse for weeks? Clearly, she was grieving and in pain. We are willing to credit animals with innate behaviors, thoughts, etc., but somehow humans have no innate tendencies? B.S.; we’re no different than that mother whale–when a meaningful connection is broken, we hurt and it takes a long time to get back to stasis.

    And imagine mother whales did not have innate emotions, including the ability to love their offspring? Baby whales would die every day because their mothers would have no connection to them, and thus would not be motivated to sacrifice for their babies, or to protect them even at the mother’s own risk.

    Furthermore, lots of evidence indicates that squashing down emotions has deleterious health consequences; much better to process pain and other negative emotions (yes, even anger) head-on.

    So hurt, feel justified that you hurt, and let it propel you to better psychological health. I know I feel stronger today than I did prior to having been betrayed (though it has been a cold, hard slog through much of the healing).

    • I never chose to be stung by wasps in my life either, but when it happened I had to deal with pain, swelling, and allergic reaction for as long as it took to heal. It takes as long as it takes, mind over matter never worked with those either.

      But, then again, maybe I’m just delusional…lol….

  • Hi, cheating comes with physical and great emotional pain. Your ok dealing with what you have to do, but reminders are painful, esp when ow tries to wind you up. If they loved you they wouldn’t have been unfaithful. My ow gives misery new meaning, but how sad is her life really. Ex hasn’t lived with me for 5 years, and she’s still hanging around, how sad is that. They feed off your pain and upset, a bit like BOB in Twin Peaks, anyone remember that

  • Thank you for this CL. For 30 yrs I supported fuckwit’s failed businesses, yes of unemployment, many expensive hobbies while I worked my tail off for the love of family, career and providing a great life for my boys. Then when I wanted to retire to our beach house and asked fuckwit to work enough to pay insurance, he found island tramp and stomped on my dream. Damn right I was hurt; damn right I am still mad as hell. I summarily divorces his ass and took as much as I could. In fact if you don’t feel hurt pissed and angry, you are still being that door mat I think. Sure hope meh is a real phenomenon cuz I do not want to remain this way for much longer! Forgiveness is for God. I am not that evolved yet.

  • It’s fucking amazing how total strangers, cheaters quote each other.

    1.5 year from D-day and 1 year after divorced her ugly face and dead eyes.

    I too got from covert narcopath skank:

    “It’s your Ego.

    It’s Not What I Did, It’s Your Reaction and you are Overreacting.

    Get over it.

    Everybody is cheating, Grow up.

    We are all adults here (referring to the fact that her fuckbuddy from work lies and cheats on his family).

    It’s only sex, a distraction for both of us from our ‘primary’ relationships until we figure out what to do.

    We didn’t have sex more often, because we were both busy with our ‘family’ obligations.

    We not only had sex on the phone and sneaked in to cheap hotels to have sex, we were talking about our unhappiness as well.

    We didn’t have sex more often, because we were both busy with our “family” obligations.

    I’m not going to apologies to you, because you are not going to forgive me anyway.”

    THE SHIT THAT COMES OUT OF THEIR VILE MOUTHS IS UNBELIEVABLE!

    My answer to her:

    “When I grow up and mature I sure don’t want to be a skanky slut and a liar like you.”

  • Of all the “Make pain go away” self help books (none of which helped) I read in the early dark days when my XW “chose” the OM and left our family, Susan Anderson’s The Journey from Abandonment to Healing was the best. I am a skeptic by nature and recoil from anything that smacks of new age or superstitious approaches to anything.

    My pain was so profound—exceeding by far the recent deaths of my parents—I knew something primitive and biological was transpiring beyond my awareness.

    Anderson explores the evolutionary relevance of abandonment—its “danger and death signal” to the human brain that, although abandonment no longer signifies likely actual death, the brain’s vestigial survival response remains the same.

    But it is not coldly materialistic and scientific: it is poetic and sympathetic.

    Check it out. It helped satisfy my need to understand not only the “why” of what I was feeling but accept what I was feeling was normal, natural, universal, and ok. It helped me forgive myself.

    • Thank you for the book recommendation, David2016. I’m going to check the library tomorrow. Depending on one’s financial circumstances, I do believe abandonment could lead to “danger and death” even in modern times. Some people do become homeless, hungry, malnourished, ill, suicidal, etc from the things our cheaters do.

  • Pain certainly is not a choice, or optional for that matter. If we are living, we will have pain. It is what we do with it that makes the difference.

    In the beginning it’s like being hit by a freight train. I found myself disoriented, scattered, questioning my own reality. (Wait! What? Did that really happen?) Then came the phase if trying to wrap my head around the trauma. (OMG! This is real!) Following on it’s heels is the anguish, the horror, the rage, the loss of hope with even more anguish. (Insert scream emoji here) As this is exhausting, the next step for me was an eerie calm stage, I called it my anesthesia phase. (I just feel blank.) I think it is shock, and emotional exhaustion. It wasn’t bad, it allowed me it function, to get things done I needed to get done. This lasted for a good year at least. It was a much needed rest. Then gradually feelings began to surface, slowly at first, then more and more until I found myself just short of paralyzed. that’s when I went to therapy. It did help, but I still had to do the work of processing the pain.

    Processing the pain, that brings us to the what do we do with it part. First of all, I assigned guilt where it was due, squarely at the feet of cheater ex. He is the one who blew up our marriage, who screwed me over in every way he could. He’s the one who dissipated all our assets on his whore. He’s the one who lied and cheated and stole. And lastly, he is the one who kidnapped and murdered our innocent son for the sake of revenge. While I will take responsibility for my imperfections, being human, I am not responsible for his shit. Letting myself off the hook was a great relief, and enabled me to start moving forward.

    Secondly, I was told in therapy that the only way to heal was to walk through the pain when it came, not to push it down, but to allow myself to feel it, to do whatever I needed to do to get it out, cry, scream, beat up my bed…. whatever. It helped. I also was told that grief has no time table, that it takes as long as it takes. There is no “right” way to grieve, and no ” correct” length of time. This is highly individual and no one has the right to dictate the “should” when recovering from trauma.

    Lastly, time really does heal. It has been quite a while since my cheater ex cheated, since the divorce, since my child was killed, and since cheater ex’s family burned my house down. Most days there is peace in my soul. Of course I still miss my son and always will, but it is not an ever present agony as it once was.

    The one thing I have learned is that it is possible to tap the strength, the resiliency we have inside of us. We can do this, we do this and keep on living our lives. We keep on being the good people we are, trying to make our little corner of the world a better place because we were here. We keep on stepping, and growing because that’s who we are.

    • Well written Tessie, and your story moved me to tears as always. But knowing that you have risen up to be strong, happy, and free is a great encouragement.

      Hugs. Stay mighty.

    • They can do all these things, win each battle, but they will never win the war. We will always be kind, loving, people who can overcome even the most incredible horror and loss and still be gentle souls. They never really understand who we are inside. We are more than overcomers. We process it, hurt, and heal. We then use it for the good of others, helping them to do the same. Never once in all this has he made me lose my integrity.

      I’ve read some of your story and my heart grieves for you and with you over your son, but I totally applaud your ability to heal and move forward. That has helped me many times as I deal with my children’s hatred and loss. I don’t know you, but know that you have been a constant inspiration me for a while now.

  • Today’s post caused me to remember that feeling of confusion and blood draining out of my face as I by pure chance came across love notes written by BAM to another woman. A strange foggy feeling that gradually became shock, panic, disbelief, horror, anger, hurt … so many emotions all tangled up and trying to capture my primary attention. And that acidic pit in my stomach … ugh. Pain is real and physical and cannot be “perceived” away. Oh how I wish that it could.

    But yes to the thought that you absolutely do control your response. Not immediately, but at some point each chump must decide to put themselves first in their thoughts and end the painful rumination that is a necessary but finite part of the grief process.

  • This was an incredibly validating comment thread for me. Especially in terms of what all of you have endured and especially your timelines of healing. I’m often remiss to comment or tell some of my stuff because I feel it’s too much, even for here. I think maybe the friends or family who don’t have the endurance for it maybe think we’re looking for pity. Or maybe that’s just how I’m afraid of being perceived.
    That we need to tell our story or be heard maybe too much for some for our healing is so true. It’s not pity we are seeking but validation, I think.
    Thanks again CN.

  • I think New Age philosophies can be useful but tend to reduce more complicated concepts into easily digestible sound bites that don’t encompass all the intricacies of the original. I suspect that where this whole ‘pain is of your choosing’ stuff comes from is the concept that the cause of all pain is supposed to be attachment. That to supersede the ego and avoid all pain in life you need to practice detachment. To let things occur but see it as part of the every changing nature of reality, rather than try to hold on to things, as it is this avoiding change to maintain our attachment that causes our sorrows. Well yes, that would be nice in some parallel universe where we could all go sit on a mountain and not engage in the daily tussles of life. We hurt because we attached properly, in what is termed ‘normal’ fashion, and a great deal of our pain comes from having to deal with the fallout of the actions of loved ones who obviously have already apparently achieved quite a zen like state being able to detach themselves quite happily thank you very much for our lives and move on to fresh fields, leaving us with the excruciating task of having to unwillingly detach ourselves not just from them but a whole way of living that we were comfortable with. Notice I didn’t say happy with, but we did not expect to have it ripped to shreds and we’re probably quite skilled at maintaining that status quo. In any case it’s the detachment or rather accepting that that attachment needs to end and it is not if our choosing that is so horrible.

    • @Stig, you have accurately described my uber zen STBX. Asshat is sooooooo zen and sooooooo much more enlightened than the rest of us mere, chumpy mortals. This is why I, as he describes, simply “cannot be happy for him and his ‘twu wuv'(s)”. He’s so enlightened, he’s now onto a second AP in just 8 months since D-Day!

      He wouldn’t know true love or happiness if it bit him in the ass. Sad.

      • Katie, I hate those types who claim this is some kind of super spiritual calling of their soul to join with their soul mate and it was time to move to another level and leave the petty travails of the earth behind. Yeah you’ve moved on to a new plane with the ‘any genitals that affirm my sense of entitlement are attached to an enlightened soul plus we’re sophisticated adults here’ school of thought. Bleurgh. I do snigger though when they make all these pronouncements about their sacred, this is bigger than the both of them bond and then lose them in a ditch shortly after. Well I don’t really because it hurts to see the person you loved admired and thought you knew act like such a ducking idiot.

        • Exactly so, Stig. Which is why I can’t help but pity the fool. Even his adult children know he’s a fraud. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so amazingly…yes, bleurgh.

    • Do we rip it off like a bandage, and feel the excruciating intensity of emotion in a very short time span? Is my detachment severed almost immediately without any action on my part due to the callus actions of cheater leaving my mighty yo kick in? Do I deny the intensity of my overwhelming Emotions and shut down for now only for them to build up like a tidal wave behind a dam to crash down on me later? Detachment happens in different ways with different time frames for us all, but I guess when we’ve got there we’ve achieved the enlightened state of Meh. Still a long way from it myself and the emotions come in waves every now and then, but it dies help me to think “it’s not necessarily love I’m feeling, it’s just attachment”. Sometimes it helps, anyway.

    • I totally agree the “new age” tools can be useful but some of the new age crowd (IMO) such as whats her face channeling Abraham Hicks, is pure, over the top snake oil horse shit. Again this is my opinion and I do believe there are legit self help new agers. Just as con men or grifters play on human greed (who doesn’t want to make an easy buck?) these new agers play on human misery & misfortune. Why? because there is a lot of $$$ to be made by promising great love/romance, happiness and financial success if you can just get into the “Zone” or whatever they call it. If you can’t get into the “zone” well then that is your fault.

    • You are so right Stig.
      They sure know a shortcut to zen and nirvana which eludes the rest of us:

      “..achieved quite a zen like state being able to detach themselves quite happily thank you very much from our lives and move on to fresh fields, leaving us with the excruciating task of having to unwillingly detach ourselves.”

      After the D-Day, mine had no problem sleeping thru the night, she slept like a baby while I couldn’t get a wink of more then 2 hr a night and still had to go work and take the kids to school every day.

  • If pain were a “choice” we would all be pain free! Sometimes “new agey” stuff can be inspiring, but sometimes very harmful. It’s not backed by research / science – more “gurus” who profess to know the truth, and hell, some gurus have led people to death – think Jim Jones the cult leader.

    What I’ve found crazy helpful is a podcast that blends Buddhism w/neuroscience and psychology. A therapist / Buddhist named Josh Korda leads it. He’s super down to earth and smart. One of my favorite episodes is around “why we can’t just get over it,” and how detrimental it is to say “just get over it” to ourselves and others – because we would if we could. He explains through a talk and then helps with those tough feelings through a meditation. https://www.dharmapunxnyc.com/

    SO GOOD!!!

    Also, “How to Break Your Addiction to a Person” by Howard Halpern, PhD has also been very useful.

  • I always LOVE when you write about unconditional love CL! This is one of my triggers, when people demand love no matter what they do. Because- some of my family members. They have been outrageous, but hey, we’re family! 😃
    We must keep spreading the conditional love message, it’s so important, and definitely not heard enough these days. It’s like- I love you, but Dude, you have to behave or that love will fade away! Why don’t people get this?

  • As I was going through healing, I had the same questions. The most helpful thing for me was Desmond Tutu’s Book of Forgiving, which is really an amazing book. His key points are (1) forgiving is for yourself, not the perpetrator, (2) forgiving is not saying that whatever hurt you is “OK”, that you are “over it” or that it didn’t cause real pain. It does not diminish or deny the pain you experienced. (3) the forgiving is a sort of radical acceptance that what happened to you, actually happened and cannot be changed. It’s no longer wishing that it didn’t happen or ruminating over why things are so unfair that it happened to you. You accept it as a part of your history.

    The pain of the incident is real (but it does diminish over time). But in fighting the past or getting caught in the unfairness extends the pain and continues to give it life. Acceptance allows you move forward. I think it’s a very similar concept to Tracy’s getting to meh. No would wish to live through what we have all lived through, but it doesn’t have to stop us from enjoying what life has to offer us tomorrow.

    For me, D-Day was 6 years ago. The process of getting the divorce was awful, and I don’t think “meh” would have been possible during that time, and I was terrified of what the future would hold. Now, I’m at meh most days. It hasn’t been an easy road, but I can honestly say I’m much happier today than I was before all of this happened.

  • Cheaters purposefully inflict pain, knowingly, deceitfully and with malice. They make the choice to do so in secret; over time with intent. We’re blindsided by the cruelty. Lotsa cognitive dissonance that we struggle with as well. Yeah, it hurts like crazy.

  • Although, you are talking of pain and not forgiveness, it makes me think of something in Brene Brown’s latest book and she talks about forgiveness. She relates a story told my Archbishop Desmond Tsutu in The Book of Forgiving. I just love this:

    “To forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the best form of self-interest. It is also a process that does not exclude hatred and anger. These emotions are part of being human. You should never hate yourself for hating others you do terrible things. The depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger. ”

    Then Brene goes on to talk about owning your own story. I think pain is part of this. Your pain is real. I remember going through my own painful time, and I met with a monk. I asked him how I can stop feeling this way. I just wanted to stop crying. He said there is no way around it. You have to be with your pain. Be where you are at.

    • “To forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the best form of self-interest. It is also a process that does not exclude hatred and anger. These emotions are part of being human. You should never hate yourself for hating others you do terrible things. The depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger. ”

      I love this. I have accepted that what he did is a part of my history. I am at YUCK (is that the same as meh)? Attended my son’s extraordinary wedding this weekend. First time in a room with the ex since Nov. 2016 divorce. It made my skin crawl. In fact Monday was three years since Dday. I made the choice to IGNORE he and all members of his family at the wedding. Really, now they wanted to say hello when not one of them as much as picked up the phone in the past three years since Dday to see if I was ok after 36 years (just so it looks like they were on good terms with the mother of the groom)? My ex MIL (who actually traveled to Italy with the howorker while we were still married) attempted to come up to me and I turned away. This was my coping mechanism. Had I had any contact with them, I do not think that it would have been cordial. Only this morning, I had to laugh when I came up with what I should have said to them after all: “Yes, QUITE AN AFFAIR!” PS. When at rehearsal dinner, jokingly asked older son if he would like to make sure that I didn’t have a gun (I do not own one). He replied: It’s much worse to let him live!

  • CL you rock!! This was so timely for me. I was having a re-lapse today. Though it is 3.5 years post divorce and NO CONTACT, I had a moment of pain. This morning my brother sent me a picture of him and his family and I fell apart. I felt bereft. I once again felt that I lost my family. I’ve been able to look at pictures of families without any problem, but today when I saw my brother’s family fully intact, I broke down. That’s what I wanted! I don’t have that anymore. My dick-ex married his skank and she threw him a 60th birthday party where all of his children attended. Just one big happy family and I’m not in the picture (a stepsister posted it on my son’s Facebook page). The skank is in the picture next to my dick-ex. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want him back. But today, when I saw my brother’s family photo, I lost it. Fortunately a very good friend (and fellow chump) was there to pull me out of my funk. I said, “Even if he EVER showed remorse and wanted to make it right by me, I could never trust him. He would fall right back into the same crap because I conditioned him. I allowed him to do it.” And my very good friend (and fellow chump) yanked my hair and said, “You didn’t condition him! He took advantage of you! You don’t have that much power!” And that’s the very first time it clicked!! I don’t have the power to make people mistreat me. I did NOT make the dick who he is. My Gosh! What a revelation. I’ve been reading your posts regularly and still I’m learning even 3.5 years later. And your post today about ‘pain is not a choice’, ‘hubris’ and the stupidity of ‘unconditional love’ was what I needed to hear. Thank you for the validation. Sincerely.

  • If the ex and I had never had kids or if he just walked away from us and never got in contact, I would have reached meh much earlier in the game, and I know that I would be much happier and less stressed now. When we go for long stretches without contact, and the kids don’t have anything unpleasant to share about their visits, I feel very content. How am I choosing pain when I know for a fact that when the ex goes silent and quits with his shenanigans, I am very happy and am only upset when he tries to pull BS with our kids? That is not me choosing pain– that is me feeling anger and resentment that I have to deal with this nitwit because he doesn’t appear to have an ounce of either common sense or decency when it comes to parenting. I only feel it when confronted with a fresh round of his lunacy.

    I think it’s pretty safe to say that many of us struggle with pain that is inflicted on us by others; we don’t create it for ourselves. How I react to it is my choice, of course, but I’m not a robot. I’m not going to get into a pissing match with him or light his car on fire, but I’m also not going to feel completely zen when he sends me yet another condescending email about how I’m a bad parent or when he tries to turn a simple matter into a Shakespearean, five-act drama. I think I have every right, as a human being with feelings who cares deeply about her children, to feel pain when I think they’re not being treated well, and I am allowed to be angry when the ex-cheater manchild attempts to create a problem since he apparently has nothing better to do with his life.

    Those kinds of platitudes about pain always strike me as coming from people who haven’t really been through it.

  • I have been in and out of the new age community in my area for over 35 years. One of my professions has been a medium and a psychic. Over the years I have given thousands of readings, taught many classes, and given many seminars on a variety of new age subjects.

    One of the biggest reasons I no longer participate in the community is that it attracts the personality disordered like bees to honey. So many are desperate to set themselves up as THE GURU….. the one with all the answers who must be seen as all knowing and whose edicts must be obeyed because they are so wise. Their mindfuck playbook is well documented here on CN.

    Unfortunately there are many out there who just want to be told what to do, so they don’t have to deal one on one with life, or whatever. They follow these self proclaimed gurus and lap up whatever doctrine the guru throws down. They don’t seem to have an ounce of common sense or critical thinking, so they get fleeced. These were the same folks who would expect me to make decision for them during or after readings, and would be unhappy when I would give them the information for possible choices, but would tell them they needed to make that decision.

    One of my most unpopular lectures at a seminar as a guest speaker was on ethics, humility, and using our gifts to serve, not to control. Basically I said that we who have been granted these gifts, are charged with using them ethically, to better someone’s life by giving the extra info or making things clearer so they can make better choices. It is not our place to make their choices for them. We have the responsibility to avoid using our gifts selfishly because they give us an advantage. I also said that if we abuse them, we lose them. Needless to say, I was not invited back to speak the next year.

    There are some good ethical people in the field, and I applaud them. I just got sick of all the personality disordered ones. I guess my rant is that common sense should trump any “advice”, and be the one to make your own decisions since you will be the one who will live with the consequences of those decisions.

  • Thank you for the post Tracy.

    It sure validates my thoughts and feelings about the “unconditional love” after discovering the vile acts of the cheater (can’t find a better word to describe how discuss I am with what I have discovered about her, after 14 years of living with apparently total stranger and a liar).

    I’m totally focused on setting boundaries with anyone I know and new people I meet.
    I apply now that to my kids as well.
    I explained to my kids what happened.
    That their mother found a secret boyfriend at work and she was lying to us for a long time.
    That she broke all her promises she made when she said “I do” and that is why I divorced her.
    But unfortunately, my 14 years daughter is buying in to cheater’s narrative that he was just “a friend from work” and daddy is overreacting and daddy is so stubborn.:
    “Mommy forgave daddy (I have no idea what she needs to forgive me for, I never hurt her) but he just not mature enough to forgive mommy”.

  • Here is a “spiritual” resource that is evidence-based and doesn’t say anything about ego:
    irest.org

    If pain were a choice, why would one choose it?

  • “Pain is not my choice but how I react to it is my choice” a lot off people posted that,

    but we all need to be forgiving with ourselves, it’s not like we have a switch we can flip at will.

    And yes, how we react is our choice, but it takes time to be able to make the right choices and it’s really hard when we have been just violently attacked by people who we trusted the most.

  • Gia,

    I’m familiar with Tara Brach and other Buddhist principals. Try reading Pema Chodron – the first Western Buddhist nun. In fact, her journey to becoming a nun was the result of a tremendous amount of anger after her husband came home and told her he was having an affair and leaving her and their children. Her world was turned upside down and she tried all kinds of self help books but found Buddhism to make the most sense in dealing with her emotions. Here’s a link to her story: https://www.lionsroar.com/becoming-pema/

    I think the point is not that we shouldn’t feel negative emotions, but rather we acknowledge we feel them and then apply techniques to help us overcome the pain and suffering until it no longer exists. And it takes practice…lots and lots of practice, but with time, the pain lessons. If your books are telling you otherwise, burn them.

  • I developed Grave’s Disease (hyperthyroidism and eye problems) a couple of years after my DD. When I met with the endocrinologist for the first time, she actually asked me, ‘Did you divorce recently?’ It seems that such a traumatic event can bring on autoimmune diseases. Our bodies react to the pain.

    • Hmmm, similar experience here…I grew a very large thyroid nodule that was choking me. I had to have the left side of my thyroid removed. I was in horrible emotional pain from the shock of the realization that I was married to an extremely abnormal human being, as well as the loss of my entire support system because of her smear campaign. The pain was multiplied by the fact that most of these “friends” were from two different “spiritual” groups I was involved in, who strongly espoused the whole “conscious uncoupling” bullshit…and I wasn’t playing along. Soooo much judgement from all these superior assholes. So much “duality” from all of these folks espousing non-duality! Now I think that all of this focus on becoming more “spiritual” is just another form of narcissism. Just go do something nice for someone and shut up about it.

  • Pain is real, both physical and emotional pain.
    Suffering is part of life, as anyone who has lost a loved one can attest.

    I’m pretty new age-y in general. I’ve studied astrology as symbolic system; done reiki, EMDR, yoga, medication; I’ve used Tarot for insight. But nothing I’ve studied or used has ever, ever negated the reality of being human. Humans have emotions. That’s embedded in the human experience. It may even be part of the whole experience of being embodied; I also think animals have emotions, although I’m not sure they are “like” ours. But they feel fear and they can feel hopelessness and they respond to love.

    The real new-age-y deal is to not allow our emotions to take control of our whole lives. We don’t want to be stuck in anger, fear, and suffering. We want to experience those things and move through them, just as we experience joy, gratitude, and peace. We want to see emotions as part of our warning system, the part of being alive that protects us from predators and abusers, as well as the part of us that can reach to the sublime, the miraculous.

    As far as love goes, the notion that we need to provide our abusers with “unconditional love” is nonsense, if that means we place no conditions on our willingness to be in their presence or in what abuse we are willing to tolerate. Love is not about what we feel. It’s about what we do. The world is littered with narcissistic, Cluster B types that will swear to all that’s holy that they feel deeply for this person and that one. The Chump, the kids they are kicking to the curb, and a revolving door of Schmoopies. But love is a verb, as well as a noun. And to love is to act in loving ways toward the people you say you love. And for Chumps, that might mean being no contact with the cheater–because as all parents know, levying consequences for destructive behavior is extremely important. I feel lots of guilt for ending my marriage to XH the substance abuser. But enabling someone to drink, use drugs, cheat, lie, and manipulate is not loving to the abuser or the the Self.

  • My pain was so powerful I tried to die. I would have loved to be able to “choose” to not feel that way. I’m going to say that normal people do not ” choose” their emotions. They can choose how they express it, or how they deal with it, but real emotion can’t be turned off at will. The whole idea of ” detaching” just reminds me of narcissists- they’re great at detaching from their emotions, because they never felt them very deeply to begin with.
    My eldest sister is very into detaching from unpleasant obligations. She doesn’t feel the need to visit our ailing father in his nursing home, because she’s evolved past conventional expectations.That works for her- she knows the rest of the family will still look after her when she in turn gets old, because we are not that evolved.

  • End of relationship was April 1, 2016 and I have DONE. MY. WORK. I have a great counselor and I do yoga (amateur at home but well worth the $12 mat and free online guudes), read a lot, journal, and do workbook exercises. (Another shout out for Guy Winch’s Emotional First Aid.) I believe I would have reached meh a long time ago if I wasn’t also in an abusive work situation with a narc boss. I’ve documented, reported, done everything “right,” and it continues, with escalation after each incident. The way this triggers me is the worse rebound mindfuck I could imagine. This is my livelihood. I’m actively job hunting but facing blatant age discrimination and I can’t just decide I’ve had enough and leave. THE PAIN IS REAL. If you were hungry and someone said, no, you’re not – it’s just your perception – you’d know they were full of shit. Trust your intuition and find someone you trust who is trained to help you work through – NOT DENY- your experiences and the emotions that accompany them. I’m printing today’s post out, CL; absolutely one of the most important ones to re-read when being victim-blamed.

  • When someone gets all “I’m more enlightened than you” just choose their obvious hero and ask, How would you react if *** were proven to be a con man who has always been in it just to fool people and take their money? When they respond, Well that’s not a good example, *** is genuine! You can feel the love, see it in his/her aura! Wait a beat and say, That was exactly how I felt about my spouse.

    No one can be ambivalent about being totally let down and betrayed by someone they trust and admire. Heartbreak actually changes your brain chemistry. All we can do is try to be our best selves until the ride is over – until we reach Meh.

  • ““You’re creating your own pain, no one can actually hurt you unless you allow them to.””

    yeah, Eleanor Roosevelt has a lot to answer for.

  • First he BROKE my heart, then he BROKE my mind, and last he BROKE my body! 3 decades and over ½ of my life on this earth is a lot to recover from, the shock hurt the most, the body broke bc of all the stress. 2 years have passed since divorce and I can say….. Im at peace, Im healthy, and have learned more about myself through the journey of adultery and lastly divorce.

    We do survive this crap and on occasion it rears its ugly head, but I would NEVER tell someone who has gone through what we all have to “get over it” or “move on”. I’m still ME only a more Improved version. I laugh more than I cry and I don’t stress out about not being loved. I LOVED, he lied. Its that simple. Pain is REAL!

    Peace

  • My heart’s been broken before. I was in an abusive relationship before cheater. I’ve had a lot of awful things happen in my life, which doesn’t make me remarkable. However, not even straight-up abuse was worse than the pain the cheater inflicted during my pregnancy. It blew a hole in my life, and for the first time ever I wasn’t sure I could survive it. Yes it filled in over time, I’ve had an immense experience of healing, and I’ve gotten to Meh, but…damn. Nothing realer than that pain. It took time and patience to get through it, and it scared me and the people around me. I was in counseling, taking medication, doing all the “right” things, I’m a fucking therapist for chrissakes. But all the healthy coping in the world didn’t negate The Pain.

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